Blogs and social networks and wikis, oh my!  5/18/05 - Article by Joshua Jaffe

An article in CNet looks at how corporations are beginning to adopt easy web-publishing tools in their businesses... and how they're not. The article almost avoids clueless sensationalism.

Why now with blogs and wikis?

I wonder why these collaboration tools are taking off where Lotus products didn't over the last 20 years-- or only did so in select environments. Perhaps we've reached the knee of the pervasive-computing curve, and enough people 'get it' to start working by 'hub and spoke' rather than 'point-to-point' models. Or perhaps enough people 'get it' that they've learned how to transfer their business models and social networks into digital tools... after all, we've had project managers and the like doing wiki-like synthesis and management for a long time.

Syndication decentralizes

The points about blogs are interesting on another front. With thorough blogging and thorough syndication, the experience of the web becomes more thoroughly decentralized. People produce and publish information-- it's good to have so many people writing because it makes them reflect, synthesize, and articulate themselves. The tools then aid the flow of that information by adding metadata, searching for relevant relationships, aggregating feeds, and presenting it to others. It's barely even a hub-and-spoke model because the ends of the spokes only see the hub if they're wandering.

Tim Bray recently told Mac users to stop using their web browsers to read the web and pick up NetNewsWire instead. A feed aggregator certainly adds a lot to the experience (and NetNewsWire has relegated my Safari auto-tabs to the dustbin), and my fears that I would stop finding new feeds haven't come true, so I guess it's a good thing. I think that they're still tools to be used in concert, though.

Sidenote: Emergent Structure

A sidenote-- I'm feeling a split between this sort of entry and what I intended t.org for, but I can't articulate it quite yet. I started t.org intending to make post objects that discussed 'hypertext' in some abstract way, perhaps 'hypertext theory' though I haven't called it that so far. This is hypertext in the trenches, social hypertext theory. This isn't a problem, but it's an interesting trend. I'm going to map it out the Tinderbox Map View to see if a casual scatterplot reveals a Venn diagram of my post types.