The hacker community is on the brink of a split.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal claims that there is a level of conflict of interest for bloggers who have advised FON and are writing about it. While the Journal’s story, in itself, is probably more of a tempest in a tea cup, I do believe that it raises some interesting issues in terms of buzz in the blogosphere. The New Gatekeepers For all that is being said about the democratizing effect of the blogosphere, the truth is that systems of hierarchies that have existed for thousands of years still exist in the online world. It may be that humans are hard-wired for hierarchies and find an innate need to give more power to a certain amount of gatekeepers. In the past, access to information was directly tied to monetary fortune. Before the advent of the printing press, books were very expensive so, as a result, the knowledge that was transferred through books was only accessible to one of two groups: rich people, knights and other people with some type of royal title, and religious leaders, including the people in monasteries who created those books. As a result, the information traded via books was largely centered on the…Read More
The recent rise of social software, weblogs, flashmobs, and online political campaigning may represent new opportunities for the technology-aware politician. Already, Governor Howard Dean, a democratic candidate in the 2004 presidential campaign is showing that good understanding of those new technologies can help increase the visibility of a candidate in an otherwise difficult field. At the current time, his site lists the fact that 255,173 people have signed up for his list. While the number may be small in terms of establishing a win in the long run, it is an interesting statistic. Witness, for example, the growth of social software networks like Ryze and Friendster, which both have over a million people with limited marketing being done. For example, my Friendster page tells me that, through only 11 people, I am connected to over 100 thousand people. Let’s assume that only one percent of those people are actually interested in chatting with me and I am still dealing with a thousand people. Accounting for overlaps, Dean could turn his base of hardcore supporters into a group that needs to convince about 52 million people in order to win the next election. In terms of doing so, each of his…Read More