Must read: G/localization: When Global Information and Local Interaction Collide

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
hav­ing lately.

Here’s the link: G/localization: When Glob­al Infor­ma­tion and Local Inter­ac­tion Col­lide. And here are some snip­pets to entice you to fol­low it:

On cul­ture:

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.

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