Small Change, why the revolution will not be retweeted, by M. Gladwell

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Published on: October 25, 2010

Continuing the story on social networks, recently came across a thought provoking article from M. Gladwell in the newyorker. The central thesis is that social networks alone will not be able to bring about real (social) changes [e.g. to the scale of civil rights movement].

  • High-risk activism is a “strong-tie” phenomenon.

The kind of activism associated with social media isn’t like this at all. The platforms of social media are built around weak ties. Twitter is a way of following (or being followed by) people you may never have met. Facebook is a tool for efficiently managing your acquaintances, for keeping up with the people you would not otherwise be able to stay in touch with. That’s why you can have a thousand “friends” on Facebook, as you never could in real life. This is in many ways a wonderful thing. There is strength in weak ties, as the sociologist Mark Granovetter has observed. Our acquaintances—not our friends—are our greatest source of new ideas and information. The Internet lets us exploit the power of these kinds of distant connections with marvellous efficiency. It’s terrific at the diffusion of innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, seamlessly matching up buyers and sellers, and the logistical functions of the dating world. But weak ties seldom lead to high-risk activism.

  • Need for hierarchical structures rather than networks

This is the second crucial distinction between traditional activism and its online variant: social media are not about this kind of hierarchical organization. Facebook and the like are tools for building networks, which are the opposite, in structure and character, of hierarchies. Unlike hierarchies, with their rules and procedures, networks aren’t controlled by a single central authority. Decisions are made through consensus, and the ties that bind people to the group are loose. This structure makes networks enormously resilient and adaptable in low-risk situations. Wikipedia is a perfect example. It doesn’t have an editor, sitting in New York, who directs and corrects each entry. The effort of putting together each entry is self-organized. If every entry in Wikipedia were to be erased tomorrow, the content would swiftly be restored, because that’s what happens when a network of thousands spontaneously devote their time to a task.

Read more about this here: [The Link]

Impact of being connected on social skills/relationships

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Published on: October 21, 2010

Real friendship involves risk. If a computer screen you ultimately control comes between you and your “friend,” then it was not authentic friendship in the first place… More about this here: [The Link]

Even as they become more connected, young people are caring less about others ..More about this here: [The Link]

Quick Tip: 6 Websites for Gaining Exposure as a Photographer

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Published on: October 9, 2010

Phototuts+

via Quick Tip: 6 Websites for Gaining Exposure as a Photographer.

Flickr. Devianart, Creattica, Stock.XCHNG, RedBubble.

East vs. West — the myths that mystify: TED Talk by Devdutt Pattanaik

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Published on: October 6, 2010

The business of software

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Published on: October 5, 2010

Seth’s Blog

via The business of software.

Writing software used to be hard, sort of like erecting a building used to be hundreds of years ago. When you set out to build an audacious building, there were real doubts about whether you might succeed. It was considered a marvel if your building was a little taller and didn’t fall down. Now, of course, the hard part of real estate development has nothing to do with whether or not your building is going to collapse.

The same thing is true of software. It’s a given that a professionally run project will create something that runs. Good (not great) software is a matter of will, mostly.

The question used to be: Does it run? That was enough, because software that worked was scarce.

Now, the amount of high utility freeware and useful free websites is soaring. Clearly, just writing a piece of software no longer makes it a business.

So if it’s not about avoiding fatal bugs, what’s the business of software?

At its heart, you need to imagine (and then execute) a business that just happens to involve a piece of software, because it’s become clear that software alone isn’t the point. There isn’t a supply issue–it’s about demand. The business of software is now marketing (which includes design).

The internet has transformed the software industry in two vaguely related ways:

1. It makes it far more efficient to communicate with people who might buy your software and,
2. It enables software’s most powerful function: communication between users

…. more in Seth’s Blog: The business of software.

Predictable critiques of any new Technology

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Published on: October 5, 2010

Any new technology faces criticisms, they are often predictable and go through phases. Here are some common criticisms in order.

1. What the hell is it good for?
2. Who wants it any way?
3. The only people who want this innovation are dubious or privileged minorities
4. Its only a fad, it will not last very long
5. This will not change things one bit [invention is only a fancy gadget with no practical consequences]
6. This is not good enough… it costs too much
7. Those weaker than I am can’t handle it!
8. Etiquette. Its bad manners to use it here [cell phones are NOT to be used in trains]
9. If the new technology has to do with thinking, writing or reading, then it will most certainly change our techniques of thinking, writing or reading for the worse

A very interesting article describing these critiques with various interesting tit-bits from history. Must read….
More of this article here: [The Link]

ManyEyes is a Powerful Visualizer for Your Data [Data Visualization]

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Published on: October 1, 2010

Lifehacker

via ManyEyes is a Powerful Visualizer for Your Data [Data Visualization].

ManyEyes is a neat tool that produces compelling visualizations based on user-defined data sets, with data types ranging from statistics tables to any old block of text. More »

http://manyeyes.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/

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