Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The navel gazing blog post

Bloggers posting about the online world is so navel gazing, so inward focused and normally pointless. Please do not read on as I am really only do this post to do some out loud thinking for myself.

I thought this election in BC would mark the explosion of the use of the internet, specifically social media, for campaigning, but it did not. The Yes side of the referendum seemed to have done the best with the online world, but still only managed to reach at most 20 000 people that way. A complete drop in the bucket.

Twitter does not seem to be a place that builds any strong connections for most people and really only seems to work well to enhance existing ADD conditions in people like myself. Frankly, I think we are seeing the end of the Twitter as most of the posting is now about some one or some group promoting something - there is no communication going on.

Online forums were people discuss things seem to have a natural limit of about 30-40 core people and 100 to 200 lurkers. There seems to be no mass public discussion going on anywhere. We are segmenting into smaller and smaller groups of people online, in fact we seem to be mimicking the the size of the groups we connect with in real life, we seem to gravitate to groups of 50 to 150 people.

The danger of being in these small silos and only connecting with other silos that are similar to ours means we are all falling into circles where there will be no one that does not the see the world in the same we do. We will be a world of small niche groups that reinforce a single worldview, or I should say way to view the world.

We have more information available to us than every before, but we are fragmenting any sort of narrative that we might be able to have. Thinking out loud now, how do we take all these small groups and link them? 100 groups of 100 people is 10 000 people, still not a lot, but something more than where we are at. Can one scale it up again? Another scaling would take this to 1 000 000 people. But how would we do this? How do we bring the small groups together and connect?

It is the narrative of society that is important to build social connection and enhance social capital, but that is what is missing in the online world. I know there are people that read what I post online, but I really do not have a communication with them at all. I am also reasonably certain that my posts are not really building the narrative.

Can we as a society live and thrive if we lose our common narratives?

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