revolution round-up: week nine
A_PERSON_NOT_A_BOT also offers 'WE NEED TO FIND WORKABLE INCENTIVE MODELS. That's corporate language for some form of payment --- in cash / in kind --- for online participation from us, the ordinary netizen.'
'Likewise, people write reviews on Amazon / eBay / YouTube for fun or they blog. Before we know it, there's a book deal in place or an opportunity to be a paid comments reviewer or community manager at Amazon / eBay / platform X. It's simply the nature of our species and our innate propensity to exchange and earn value from those exchanges.'
And only yesterday we received a tweet from @TimAnderson referring us to 'Amazon Vine' - which appears to be engaging its existing community of trusted reviewers on a more business-like level than before.
In the last round-up I mentioned ideas for visualising the web, and how conversation on the blogs had led me to think of the web in terms of an anatomy, rather than a geography. A thought that @SheffTim expanded upon with a combination of the ideas - that of a coral reef, which 'dispenses with the need for a controlling 'mind''.
From which seeds and a BBC Science article on tracking extinction @TaiwanChallenges developed these ideas further as an ecology in which there are big species - big sites - whose collapse might cause disaster in that web ecology:
'Staying with our ecology analogy, I am going to compare those very few people who create most of the free content out there with bees. They do the work that everyone else depends on to make things happen. Bees are in the news because they seem to be dying out, and without them there will be no pollination of plants so no food for people and animals, and no more plants. This new application of PageRank presumably allows us to figure out which species would be impacted by the loss of the bees. Can the original PageRank tell us what would happen without a tiny minority of people producing the majority of content on the internet for free?'
And: 'I'm intrigued by A_PERSON_NOT_A_BOT's comments to the effect that eventually people are going to get tired of creating free content for the benefit of commercial organisations. Especially as they don't even have proper business plans. If normal economics do reassert themselves, then we're not only facing the loss of the key sites that hold the web together. We're facing the loss of the worker bees, the tiny minority that actually produces anything.'
From which arrived an even more scientific vision (analogue) of the web from A_PERSON_NOT_A_BOT (though still with a bee theme):
'It's my belief that what we need is to cross-pollinate our quantitative (aka mathematical) approaches with some holistic qualitative approaches which are in evidence in biochemistry, such as the way DNA or any organic mechanism works. We really will benefit from perceiving the Internet as an ecosystem rather than simply a series of hyperlinks, document files etc.
Web 1.0 can be analogized with the discovery of carbon in its graphite form --- simply sheets of documents.
Web 2.0 is the equivalent of carbon as the diamond --- there's more structure, clusters (aka social networks) are being formed.
However, what we really want to get to is carbon as it sits and interacts organically within.......DNA.'
Though, they too, liked the notion of a bodily system rather than a geography: 'The body and the brain way of visualization would enable us to appreciate the interdependency and connectedness of each moving element.' And further developed the idea here.
An interesting web content visualiser was highlighted: with an example debategraph of the application re linked data.
@earthgecko considered the possibilities and usefulness of mapping the internet; however this mapping of the internet is an ongoing project with DIMES with whom we have met, but we are thinking about the web and mapping that ecology / anatomy which lies across the Net's structure.
Programme four - is the web rewiring us?
@A_PERSON_NOT_A_BOT highlighted a number of great links to content to consider. One of my favourites being this presentation by Dr Michael Wesch. It's long, but it's both interesting and entertaining (though please be warned it does contain some strong language when discussing YouTube comments):
Elsewhere she pointed to the Google 10 to the 100th which taps into that final moment of the video above, of an opportunity to share and experience others, known and unknown across the globe. And to make a difference beyond the 'cult of me'. (Interestingly the 10 to the 100th project has yet to reveal its winners - something to watch perhaps.)
As ever, one of the joys of Digital Revolution is the opportunity to put our ideas out to you and get them batted back with informed gusto; Aleks' mention of there being no evidence of web addiction in people being a classic case, as links to report after report of internet addiction clinics opening up across the globe were sited as indication of something worthy of at least recognition, if not belief.
Molly Milton, director of programme four, also believes there is a case to be made for the existence of online addiction. Presenter Aleks doesn't. Some of you do. It's this discussion at this stage of the process that makes this project so interesting and challenging for the programme makers. Yes-men or women need not apply :)
@SheffTim offered a comment regards online addiction, featuring a list of tell-tale signs you or a friend may 'have a problem': Take a look at the Associated Press addiction list here- how many do you put a tick by? I'm almost afraid to check for myself...!
@SheffTim also introduced a precognative item (in light of subsequent blog posts from Susan Greenfield and Nicholas Carr), siting, in relation to ADHD:
'Some psychologists argue that ADHD is not truly a diagnostic disorder but rather the brain's adaptation to its continual exposure to multiple bits of data delivered through today's fast-paced technology. They contend that ADHD is not an illness but simply the result of new wiring patterns.' Source: John Hund https://www.dispatch.co.za
Never dull, we were pointed towards a provocative think-piece article, which moves off from similar base as Wesch's lecture, but then takes... a line of thought less travelled:
'I suggest a different, even darker solution to Fermi's Paradox. Basically, I think the aliens don't blow themselves up; they just get addicted to computer games. They forget to send radio signals or colonize space because they're too busy with runaway consumerism and virtual-reality narcissism. They don't need Sentinels to enslave them in a Matrix; they do it to themselves, just as we are doing today.'
The web's effects on our brains
Baroness Susan Greenfield's speech from the Web at 20 event caused some consternation from the Digital Revolution community. Many questioned her ideas, but from the sparks of her statements came a wealth of ideas and suggestions regards the web's effects on humanity.
@Cyberissues pointed us to a study that offered pros for Facebook, but cons for Twitter. While Twitter's micro-updates are given phatic (if not emphatic) credibility by others - as pointed out by @JustinPickard - whose links also point to some interesting studies regards health and social networks (real and virtual).
@LeonCych suggested that the next steps in children's exposure to the web and technology will grow ever more virtual, guiding us towards an interesting blog on virtual technologies and education (and other fun). That inspired further examples of video games and virtual worlds as educational tools for participative and engaging learning in schools from @eyebeams, as well as a few examples of Twitter's useful application in teaching.
It was also pointed out by A_PERSON_NOT_A_BOT that in all of these assertions and discussions we lack the voice of the young people Baroness Greenfield and many more are concerned for. Other comments have raised the same. I had the pleasure of attending Tomorrow's Web a few weeks ago, where I interviewed (I say 'interviewed' - I'm no Paxman...) a group of highly web literate and active young people. I have video of their comments on Facebook, monetisation (several of these teenagers already ran internet start-ups!), privacy and more. I will endeavor to get this on the blog asap. AND try to find other avenues for the production to gain more input from younger people.
Suggestions for programme four (and beyond):
In response to Molly Milton's requests for help and ideas for programme four, @TaiwanChallenges kindly offered to facilitate connection between a Taiwanese school and a UK counterpart for the programme. While @EnglishFolkFan suggested we look to schools in the Isle of Man as a useful starting point for connected education.
A_PERSON_NOT_A_BOT suggests that we lack female representation in our lists of interviewees and contributers; she proffers that, among many, we should speak to Mark Zuckerberg's mother: 'In my view, Karen Zuckerberg is a key influence in the Facebook founder's thinking and why he created Facebook in the first place.'
While @earthgecko suggested Google's Marissa Mayer as a strong candidate for inclusion in the Digital Revolution production.
The Open Source documentary
There have been a few comments made regards the clarity of this project's aims, target audience etc.
@TaiwanChallenges asking: '...who your target audience is, and today SheffTim is asking what your thesis is. A little more clarity about what you want would be nice.'
And we take this on board. The project's Multiplatform Producer, Dan Gluckman, offered a response to these questions and more; it's an evolving process serving to create an evolving documentary - hopefully it will yield more positives than negatives. Like A_PERSON_NOT_A_BOT says: 'Potentially, this documentary series can be..........PHENOMENAL in its socio-demographic inclusions and also, consequentially, affect the Web's development in positive dimensions.'
@earthgecko made some useful observations as to the Digital Revolution online documentary and the levels of participation by members of the Digital Revolution community. It has set us thinking. We'll get back to you on this. But as I said in response to why we don't have a button to upload a video to the site - the web is there to be utilised in any way you can. If you've got content to share, but we're not providing the tools on this blog, please use other platforms and let us know about it - link to it and we'll come to you. If it's appropriate and we can embed it here - we will.
Another question raised is: 'What is BBC policy about possibly assigning production credits in the 4-parters to the commentators and those who participate in the content mashups, which will form part of the project?' Hopefully Dan Gluckman's response that we're still working out the best ways of crediting ALL our contributors helps there.
For now, I can offer you the credit given above, and our considerable gratitude - of myself and the Digital Revolution team - for all your thought, inspiration and input into the project. Many thanks.