Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vanishing Bloggers and Sunstein's "republic.com"

There is an ongoing debate about the status of the web, especially the status and health of social networks in all its manifestations, but maybe even more particular the health of bloggning. Here is one page that references some of the debate. To me there are many interesting questions in this debate, one in particular is the notion of community size and community streamlining. When people refer to social networks it is often with a view that networks are huge and people communicate and relate in that network. I have not seen any recent studies on what is the number of people that people actually are in a communicative relationship with. To read twitter and blogs in not necessarily communication, it easily becomes consumation. I have recently been thinking more about the book "republic.com" by Cass Sunstein from a few years back. I think his ideas in that book are more relevant and true today than they were when he wrote it. It takes a different view on networks and group communication. It is a short book and great read.

2 comments:

Christian Briggs said...

Hi Erik,

For those of you who are interested, there is an interesting video at http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/575/ of a discussion between Sunstein and Yochai Benkler (the wealth of networks) about this issue. For you HCI folks, Sunstein makes the important, and often-overlooked, point that designers of communities are today making decisions that directly affect the state of the republic. In just a few years, HCI's influence has gone from usability to democracy-changing.

Erik Stolterman said...

Thanks Christian for the link and the comment!!

Erik