a fabulous article last night and this morning by Diana Boyd, a PhD
student at UC-Berkeley and a researcher at Yahoo! Research Berkeley.
She’s writing about the interactions of culture and technology and it
speaks a lot to some of the online and offline conversations I’ve been
Here’s the link: G/localization: When Global Information and Local Interaction Collide. And here are some snippets to entice you to follow it:
When mass media began, people assumed that we would all
converge upon one global culture. While the media has had an effect,
complete homogenization has not occurred. And it will not. While some
values spread and are adopted en-masse, cultures form within the mass
culture to differentiate smaller groups of people. Style-driven
subcultures are the most visible form of this, but it occurs in
companies and in other social gatherings.
Techies will like her take on “embedded observers”:
While the creators have visions of what they think would
be cool, they do not construct unmovable roadmaps well into the future.
They are constantly reacting to what’s going on, adding new features as
needed. The code on these sites changes constantly, not just once a
quarter. The designers try out features and watch how they get used. If
no one is interested, that’s fine — they’ll just make something new.
They are all deeply in touch with what people are actually doing, why
and how it manifests itself on the site.
On online communities:
Digital community participants sometimes find that they
“accidentally” meet someone. People collide on Flickr because they took
similar photos; the find wonderful blogs through search. These ad-hoc
interactions typically occur because people are producing material that
can be stumbled across, either through search or browsing. They may not
intend for the material to be consumed beyond the intended audience,
but they also don’t see a reason to prevent it. In essence, they are
inviting moments of synchronicity. And synchronicity is energizing.