The Dumbness of Crowds

I’ve not linked to Creating Passionate Users for a while. As it’s probably the smartest blog in the entire universe I like to link to something now and again.

This post on the misappropriation of ‘the wisdom of crowds’ is a classic. Featuring this quote…

No matter what, I believe that in our quest to exploit the “We” in Web, we must not sacrifice the “I” in Internet.

You might need to read the article to get it.

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More Internet Scribblings in the Real World

What a shame.

From a pub toilet near Spittalfields. Which also had the great line writ large on the wall “England isn’t competitive”. Which I thought was rather profound.

Poke: Seeking Creative Director

Poke are hiring. We’re looking for a new creative director.

It’s a nice place to work, or at least I think so.

We’re looking for someone quite particular. If you’re interested, or think you know someone who might be, please take a look at the job description here.

I had a great response to the last plea for help and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the web and the lovely people who sometimes read this blog might be able to help.

If you’re responsible for a successful lead, or are a successful applicant through my blog I’m sure I can furnish you with some kind of decent reward. I’m not sure what yet but we’ll work something out…

Continue reading Poke: Seeking Creative Director

Participation Inequality

Participation Inequality: Lurkers vs. Contributors in Internet Communities. Jakob Nielsen’s piece on the split between lurkers, synthesisers and creators. He puts it at a 90-9-1 rule. But has some other interesting examples, like blogging, where he says the ratio is more like 95-5-0. (for a clever guy his maths aren’t that good ;-)

Anyway, it’s a great article, and the bit about how to minimise inequality is smart:

  • Make it easy to contribute
  • Make participation a side-effect
  • Edit don’t create
  • Reward – but don’t over reward – participants
  • Promote quality contributions

That’s enough paraphrasing, just click over here to read the whole thing.

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Holidays, Blitzen and Blogsitting

It’s been a few days. But I am on holiday.

For some reason whenever I go away people say “you’re always on holiday”, but I promise I’m not. Regardless here’s where I am: Algund-Lagundo – it’s a lovely place, but slightly odd; it’s in Italy, but everyone speaks German. I’ll bore you with some holiday thoughts and pics later.

Anyway this time I decided to take my laptop with me, just for emergencies you understand. But when we arrived I was told that lighting had hit the internet (my poor translation from the German, but not a million miles off). When I called work on Monday and told them I couldn’t get online I really did feel my excuse was about as far fetched as the dog having eaten my homework.

My biggest regret about not being able to get online was that Mike Coulter who writes the excellent Digital Agency blog was going to blogsit for me. But I didn’t get round to sorting it before I left :-( When Mike and I were emailing about it I thought the idea of blogsitting was pretty interesting, then I discovered that it was old hat:

Join the Darknet

The Swedish Pirate Party has launched a service that lets anyone send files or information over the Internet without fear of being monitored or logged. Technically they say, this is called a “darknet”. I could spend a lot of time discussing who’s going to use it and what they’re going to do with it, but I don’t really know. Why not read their press release instead.

The service is called ‘Relakks‘, and apparently when you sign up you can “feel more free and relaxed when you’re on the internet”.

Perhaps most interesting is:

The Pirate Party is Sweden’s largest political party outside Parliament. It was founded in January, 2006, and is running for office in this fall’s general elections. The party only has three issues on its agenda: shared culture, free knowledge, and protected privacy.

It’s already been on Digg and Slashdot, so I’m late to the party again.

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Dell Blog

I’m a bit behind on this one but Dell have started a corporate blog. It’s getting very mixed coverage:

Looking at it I think they’ve got a lot of fundamentals right. They’re not moderating too hard, they’re letting real stuff through. They’re looking at links in and links out. They’re responding to comments. And fair play to them, there’s a huge volume of stuff to deal with.

It mustn’t be easy for someone like Dell with customer service issues to stick their head out of the trench. So good luck to ’em I say.

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Oh yes, I’m on holiday. Sorry forgot to say.

I’m in Thailand and I vowed I wouldn’t go near a computer for 2 weeks, but there was just one little tiny thing that I needed to use the internet for… That’s my resolution blown then.

Back soon x

Ugly Design Works

This is an interesting debate. I think I might not share it with some of my colleagues for fear of inciting a mini-riot Ugly Design Works… Most Web Designers Miss the Point. I do think there’s some truth in it though (eBay anyone?).

It reminds me of a quote from Tim Berners Lee about how “the Internet will always be a little bit broken” as reported by David Weinberger (I think I first heard it in his book Small Pieces Loosely Joined). In essence, because much of the web is made by real people it’s always going to have flaws. The argument then continues if you try to make a website too polished it feels like it’s trying to overpersuade people and they react against it.
The tricky bit for me is how you deal with corporate websites, yes they’re made by real people. But then so are TV commercials, and you don’t expect errors in those. Or, perhaps, if the rest of the TV environment was made up of public access channels you would?!?

And what about websites that need me to feel safe and secure? I’m not sure I want my bank website to feel as if it’s “a little bit broken”. Hmmm. I’ll have to ponder on that one. Feels like another chapter of my Emotional Architecture piece that I’m still promising to write.

Zombie Infection Simulation

Sometimes I see things online and it makes me think. “I love the Internet”, and I love the crazy, crazy, eccentric freaks that inhabit it. The Zombie Infection Simulation is one of those things. I’ve got no idea why this exists, apart from a bunch of geeks decided that it should. Now there appears to be all kinds of offshoots from the original – like this version where humans can fight back. It reminds me of the old ‘life’ simulators with foxes and hens from my very first computer in ’83. Damn, that makes me feel old!