A Conversation Across Space And Time

World 2.0 seems to have raised it’s periscope within our culture almost 5 years ago, in the immediate post-9/11 world. Who would’ve thunk it possible?

Brad Neuberg on October 21, 2001:

The world seems to be hungry for an ideological alternative to capitalism. I don’t know if this is a rational or simply emotional need for something to challenge what is now the dominant ideology of the age, but I predict that as soon as a semi-credible ideological alternative to capitalism arises that it will spread like wildfire and produce another Cold War type situation. Communism used to be it, but is now defunct and dead, while fundamentalist Islam semi-fills this need in parts of the world. I’ve noticed this need to challenge capitalism while traveling; I can even see it in myself.

I’ve never met Brad—as a matter of fact, I was only introduced to his blog tonight via Messina’s post—yet I dropped a similar perspective on the state of capitalism on the other side of the planet just two weeks later in the fall of 2001.

Coincidence or…?

The collective unconscious has always been a powerful concept, but before blogging, it wasn’t a tangible construct. It took the invention of the permalink and intra-day personal publishing to even begin to generate enough trails of human expression to expose Jung’s concept of unspoken, shared realities and archetypes.

While The Cluetrain gang introduced the concept of a global conversation to netizens back in 1999, what I find so interesting about the blogosphere since that time, is that the very notion of a conversation has the potential to become explicitly amplified and extracted to become findable across new dimensions of length and density.

The web is now chock full of meshed thoughts and dreams, connected explicitly by hyperlinks, loosely by tags and conceptually by discovery. With a shift in search result interface paradigms, the possibilities for more complete, immediate research queries are endless.

Topical themes—or memes—shift intra-day and can last as conversations either as sporadic and finite bunches (Jill Carroll’s abduction and release over a three month period) or prolonged variants (George Bush’s presidency). Imagine what types of conversational connections will become possible when interfaces, such as a Technorati search result, leaves the conservative constraints of separated permalink results based on latest entries or authority, and instead focuses on the clustering of such conversations through visual metaphors across other dimensions.

And no, I’m not talking about a folder paradigm.

I’m talking about dynamic, visual representations of conversations, with the ability to shift in real-time, using attributes such as tags and language co-occurance to drive groupings within oppositional variants such as the length and density of the conversation.


The day our thoughts and dreams stop getting lost in the cracks of time and authority, we’ll be one step closer to the knowledge revolution, leaving information in the dust with data. Then the decolonization of cyberspace can begin with earnest.

SXSW2006 Day 4: Cluetrain: Seven Years Later

Doc Searls

On marketing consulting:

There’s money to be made in prolonging the problem.

On the title:

The cluetrain stopped there (Silicon Valley) four times a day, but never made a delivery.

How the book came after the site received a buzz:

The book deal got worked out based on how much consulting money wey’d have to give up.

Companies that get it:

  • Dresdner Kleiner Wasserstein; the CIO completely bought into Cluetrain through Rageboy.
  • Microsoft is a huge blogging community.
  • Sun microsystems is trying to retain people, so they encourage blogging as well.

On the future of 2.0 and women in the mix:

There’s going to be a huge explosion of indie film and video production… the larger trend is independence… and women are best served to manage these communities.

Heather Armstrong

Heather stumbled into the marketing department of Nikon. She posts images and labels them with, “Shot by a Nikon XXX” and her audience is now buying the camera by the thousands. The problem? She’s having issues with the camera and Nikon isn’t paying her. So there’s guilt and then there’s justifiable bitterness.

When will companies get it?:

Cluetrain will be realized when BestBuy goes out of business.

Brian Clark

On the web:

Less than entranced of the web as human-computer interaction (as oppossed to cd-rom).

On productivity:

Cluetrain predicts the idea that we can work smarter than that.

On the future of business models:

Ad agencies are starting to build around groups of freelancers, thereby reducing traditional organization, and increasing collaboration.


Before getting into the question of how do we empower individuals, I told Heather that I’ve been dooced twice; once when blogs were just web sites, and once within the thriving blogosphere. She asked me, “didn’t you listen to me?” and I laughed it off with a no, but the truth is strange. I didn’t get dooced twice for shitting on my boss or coworkers, I got dooced for openly talking about how smart we were being within our company(s) at the time. Yes, I got dooced for having pride in our work and sharing it. Nothing secretive or clandestine, just for daring to speak to people and not go through “proper” channels. That’s a big difference.

As for empowering bloggers to a point of sustainability, I understand Doc’s response. Blogs will provide monetary returns via the relationships and opportunities they create—through the development of respected, personal perspectives and grass roots authenticity (sorry for paraphrasing, but this is a post-lunch wrap-up). That’s all good, but my question (which I didn’t quite get out) was more about how do we empower the voices around the US and the world who might be online, but are scraping to get by and don’t (or can’t) see the benefit of sharing their voice.

I feel reaching a critical mass of participation is important; not because I necessarily want to experience *everyone’s* POV, but because the chance that you or I might discover these voices is an extremely powerful, politically empowering concept, as down the road, a yet to be designed interface will make discovering such varient perpsectives within a huge ecosystem of information rather simple. So to get a critical mass, a potential monetary incentive might become the tipping point for participation.

So my original question remains; how can we develop implicit hooks between bloggers and businesses? Maybe it’s not about that direct hook either; maybe it’s about creating an algorithm service which can sense when a blog reaches:

  • a readership tipping point
  • a query match tipping point (enough people land on x site because they were looking for y)
  • a tagging tipping point (enough posts fill the context of a particular topic that matches a business’s controlled vocabulary of value keywords [matching services, inventory, etc.])
  • a local readership tipping point (based on a radius from the “home” of the blogger)

This way, community based small businesses can be alerted to potential local blog advertising possibilities and participate with smaller, more targeted payouts to audiences directly engaged within the context of their business model. Instead of creating hooks directly between domains, instead, we’d be creating hooks between people.