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Sunday, December 19, 2004

The Network Is The Blog

John Udell in his weekly infoworld column writes, The blog network is malleable and is shaped by our use of it.He argues that the blog network filters and retransmits knowledge is a way that approximates a human nervous system or insects acting as a cooperative group. As a proof point he notes that he subscribers to more people than publications, knowing that people will alert him if a publication contain important information. Thus, a subconscious facility of the blog network is that it can help filter the crush of information. Excerpts with edits and my views added:

It’s more like a nervous system than a computer network, and for good reason. The crush of information we process every day creates a terrible dilemma. On the one hand, we must conserve the scarce resource of attention. On the other hand, we need to become aware of everything that matters. It’s a tricky balancing act, but one that nature’s humblest creatures have adroitly mastered.We can’t say exactly how the trick is done, but we understand the basics: a network, a message-passing protocol, nodes that aggregate inputs and produce outputs. The blog network shares these architectural properties. Its foundation network is the Web; its protocol is RSS; its nodes are bloggers. These ingredients combine in ways that are not yet widely appreciated.

Consider how one's own inputs have evolved over the past five years. At one time, the RSS intake were mostly feeds from conventional published sources, along with a few from individuals. Now it’s the reverse. One subscribes to people more than to publications, and not because the information has more value in those publications -- but rather because, outside of the realms in which one is closely involved, the job can be delegated to tracking primary sources to people whose interests and inclinations qualify them to do so.

The blog network is made of people. We are the nodes, actively filtering and retransmitting knowledge. Clearly this architecture can help manage the glut of information. More subtly, it can also help ensure that no vital inputs are suppressed because nobody has to rely on a single source. If one of the feeds monitored doesn’t react to some event in a given domain, another probably will. When they all react,one knows it was an especially important event.Ideas ping around the blog network like firing neurons. One node takes an input, gets excited, processes the idea in the context of its experiences and comes to a conclusion. Other nodes do the same. And ideas are discussed and developed like a conscious thought.The resemblance of this model to the summing of activation potentials in a neural system is more than superficial. Nature knows best. Well said John..
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"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"