Seduction Of The Swarm: Understanding patterns of online participation

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Information about Seduction Of The Swarm: Understanding patterns of online participation

Published on December 3, 2007

Author: brainopera



I was invited to give an online guest lecture on emerging web technology. I chose to build on the collective intelligence series I've been working on, so I'll be presenting this LIVE via Google Docs and Skype. This invitation came from an Information Systems instructor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland College Park.

See full blog post about this presentation at

Seduction of the Swarm Understanding patterns of online participation

Hello University of Maryland College Park

Sousveillance Lifecasting as grassroots surveillance

What’s the big deal? It’s like firing up all the light bulbs at once.

That “Web 2.0” idea Web 1.0 = Browsing (passive) Web 2.0 = Participating (active)

Collective Intelligence “the capacity of a human community to evolve toward higher order complexity thought, problem-solving and integration through collaboration and innovation.” - George Por

On Coordination the folksonomy example

Taxonomy Dewey Decimal System: Religion • 292 Classical • 293 Germanic religion • 294 Indic origin • 295 Zoroastrianism • 296 Judaism • 297 Islam • 298 Not assigned • 299 Other religions • … What about Buddhism?

Taxonomy • From the quot;to classify” Greek verb: tassein = nomos = law, science, quot;economyquot; • The science of classifying things • Hierarchical tree-like structure • Requires planning and expertise

Folksonomy how photo tagging works

Folksonomy photos tagged as “gadget”

Folksonomy tagcloud of LibraryThing’s books Source:

Folksonomy • Folksonomy = folk + taxonomy • Open, democratic form of organization • Tags bridge structure and meaning • Tags reflect the social fabric • “It’s like 90% of10 ‘proper’ a taxonomy but times simpler” (Butterfield, 2004)

On Cooperation the wiki example

FluWiki the bird flu pandemic

The New PR / Wiki public relations industry wiki

What is a Wiki? • The first Wiki, WikiWikiWeb, was created by Ward Cunningham in 1995 • Named after Hawaiian bus service,Wiki Wiki • “The simplest online database that could possibly work” - Ward • Allows users to easily create and edit Web pages using any Web browser • Encourages democratic use of Web • Source:

Wikipedia vs. Britannica • Among 42 entries tested in both encyclopedias, the difference in accuracy was not great. • On the topical area of science: • Wikipedia had 4 inaccuracies • Britannica had 3 inaccuracies

On Cognition the wisdom of the crowds example

Wisdom of the Crowds • Francisat a county fair accurately Galton's surprise that the crowd guessed the weight of an ox when their individual guesses were averaged • The average was closer to the ox's true butchered weight than the estimates of most crowd members, and also closer than any of the separate estimates made by cattle experts

Wisdom of the Crowds •’s community of 60,000 online stock traders tracks the decisions of its top 100 portfolios to set the investment strategy for its mutual fund. • Its index in 11outperformed the has S&P 500 of the past 17 quarters.

Benefits of Participation • collective intelligence - collaborative • transparent - instant gratification • non-hierarchical - democratic • potential for passion - ownership • open to public - reputation • permanence - searchable resource

What make online communities unique?

Motivations of the Gift Economy • • Need Reciprocity One may produce and The most anticipated factor that contribute a public good for the motivates people to give. simple reason that a person or the groups as a whole has a • Reputation need for it. The willingness to help others can all work to increase one's prestige • Attachment in a community. The commitment one has to the group, one’s utility. • Sense of Efficacy The feeling an individual has that • Side-effect makes them feel that they have Private behavior makes cost of some effect on the environment sharing near zero. around them.

Nature of Digital Goods • In an online community, the setting is a network of digital information. • Possible to produce an infinite number of perfect copies of a piece of information. • Information is being produced in a deeply interwoven network of actors.

Nature of Public Goods • Indivisible A person's consumption of the good does not reduce the amount available to another. e.g. watching fireworks display • Non-excludable When it is difficult to exclude individuals from benefiting from the good. e.g. national defense system • In most cases a public good will exhibit these two qualities to some degree only; pure public goods are the exception.

Digital + Public Goods • Information or “digital goods” are uniquely suited to be exchanged in a gift economy • “Pure indivisibility” – my use of information does not reduce your ability to use • Information on the internet becomes a “public good”

But wait... What qualities enable some web services to be more pervasive than others?

Using Game Mechanics • “Applying Games Mechanics To Functional Software” by Amy Jo Kim, Creative Director of ShuffleBrain • Five Game Mechanics 1. Collecting 2. Earning Points 3. Feedback 4. Exchanges 5. Customization

On Ambient Intimacy • Leisa Reichelt coined the term “ambient intimacy” • Describes the genreby Twitter, of social computing apps led Jaiku, and Pownce. • Refers to the constant sense of closeness users feel with their circle of friends through technologies that informally reveal us to each other.

On Walled Gardens • A socialbuilding and verifying of network service focuses on the online social networks for communities of people who share interests and activities • Mostare “walled social networking traditional sites gardens” (e.g. Facebook) • Trap user content to derive ad revenue • Can’t leave? Loss of coordination.

On Future social cyborg = the human platform

Doom first person shooter + cinema-verite

Strange Days personal experiences for sale

Gordon Bell of Microsoft (memory prosthetic)

Steve Mann world’s first known cyborg

Jennifer Ringley (JenniCam) 1996 - 2003

Justin Kan ( lifecasting goes commercial

Testing wearable video over EVDO... (Samsung EVDO phone, Sony Vaio UX, Logitech cam)

ZaoBao newspaper (July 2007)

On You what do you want to know?

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