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weblogs as distributed consciousness


This sort of expands on this entry from no comment: why weblogs are better for discussion than the alternatives. (Related to Dave Winer's explanation for warbloggers).

Weblogs are a sort of mythical beast in the distributed world. They have not been catalogued as distributed creatures, but they are. Their existence lives in whispers followed by "I'm not sure what they are." Some people deny they exist, pretending they are simply a re-hash of an already existing form of communication: a diary, a newsgroup, whatever. Many people that comment on them have never seen one.

Nessie on bits.

Weblogs are loosely coupled in the sense that weblogs use hyperlinks to give the reader a 'hint' into the link that originated the entry or the original posting on which the entry is commenting. But they don't force the reader to go there. Furthermore, if the reader actually goes there, he/she/it will be taken to a different context. If the previous entry was a flame, the context will be lost partially: the ideas behind the comment will remain, but not the flame.

The signal, not the noise.

Very much like what we do in our heads (unless "we" are psychotic :-)).

And while they are loosely coupled as a distributed conversation, they maintain a strong sense of internal logic and linearity, given by the author.

This is a definite improvement from discussion groups and such (think Usenet) where an interesting discussion could be blocked out by angry postings discussing the evils of Microsoft and whatnot.

Sometimes the Internet and the technologies spawned by it feel like nothing but a big, long experiment to find new ways to communicate after the previous media had shown their limits.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on August 7 2002 at 11:52 PM

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