Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Subverting hierarchy?

David M. Rogers gives a critical (and welcome) response to my climb of the Technorati tail. He says: (emphasis mine)
Doc, for the umpteenth time, hyperlinks to do not subvert hierarchy. In fact, they help establish their own hierarchies. They may help overturn existing hierarchies, they may increase the rate of "churn," but as should be abundantly clear by now, human beings are all about competing for rank in a hierarchy and hyperlinks are merely another tool. Technology changes how we do things, it doesn't change what we do.
David makes a valid point, but there is a hidden assumption. The assumption is that there is only one heirarchy of value (like in the High-School social scene).

The thing is, hyperlinks make it possible to have multiple simultaneous heirarchies... which really isn't a hierarchy at all, is it?

I write about things that interest me, and read Doc's column every day because he's interested in the same stuff. We both worry about the "echo chamber" effect that can come from it, and always are on the lookout for new opinions, and feedback.

My lovely wife, Noran, uses blogs in the way that David mentions in his posting, as a means of social support and networking. She tells stories about her Father, (whom we both miss dearly) talks about our vacations, or whatever comes to mind.

Neither use of blogs is better than the other. Blogs are about networking, and making connections to help others. The only inappropriate use of blogs is when they are done just to gain status, and then it's called spam. I like to think that I'm not in this just to hear myself talk, if I'm wrong, then I deserve to be slapped down. 8)

Technorati rank is just one handy shortcut for guestimating one's popularity in the blog-o-sphere... the Technorati class of blog, anyway. The number is a shortcut, and as I've said before, there are always hidden assumptions and other dangers in shortcuts. Like IQ test, and other arbitrary measurements, they can NEVER tell the whole story.

Web 2.0, The BlogoSphere, or whatever else you want to call the World Live Web has many different dimensions... many "tails", each with it's own values and value. This multi-dimensional web of communities defintely isn't a high-school social structure... thank G*d.

So, there you have it... hyperlinks don't subvert... but they do?

Thanks for your time and attention
--Mike--

Tags: [longtail, hyperlinks]

2 comments:

Noran said...

I just read David's post and it disiturbed me--I guess I do not like my husband being painted in 1D! Yeah, he likes his ego stroked, but the truth is, we have few friends and no real social life. He married out of his realm-an ER nurse, who knows squat about the tech world. He strives to keep active mentally and to grow intellectually, as we both passed the hump of 40 years. He writes to express his thoughts, and to gain feedback and insight/personal growth.
He commutes 3 hours daily round trip to work, where he is the only IT person, and then comes home to take care of me. Pregnant and on medical leave. Yes, David's friend's blog is touching, tender and sad. But that doesn't mean you get to slam my husband, because he doesn't blog about our trials and tribulations. The loss of our father 3 years ago, and the loss of our first baby 2 years ago, on the anniv of father's passing.
Bottom line: people blog for different personal reasons, and no one blog then is better/worse than the others. I wish David allowed comments on his site.
Don't most of us blog to search our souls and reach out, trying to share some small part of ourselves with others--That what my husband does. Just like our cats, he likes to get his ego patted once in a while--is that terrible, I think not. I have lived through what David's friend is going thru now, and I wish her and her family well--for I know the heartache and hardships they face personally.

Anonymous said...

Noran and Mike, I wasn't trying to paint Mike at all, I just referenced the link that inspired Doc's comment. (Plus, it probably gave you an additional bump of maybe one or two places! ;^) ) And truly, there are lots and lots of people who pay attention to their rank in one of the various lists. That's not a bad thing, necessarily, unless it gets in the way of enjoying what you're doing, or causing you to behave in ways you might not otherwise choose to behave, were you not seeking a higher rank in the list.

Sorry you read it as a slam, it wasn't intended that way.

Do what you like to do and enjoy it!

Dave Rogers