The human network
June 25, 2007 4:47 AM   Subscribe

The human network is the paradigm and the infrastructure which supports social software.
posted by zippy (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Oooh, a paradigm!
posted by delmoi at 6:00 AM on June 25, 2007

Deep down, the internet is about people. Sure it's an interconnected set of computers following simple machine instructions, but the driving force behind it all is people connecting with other people. The human network is good way to describe what the internet has become. It is ingrained in our everyday lives. We email coworkers, friends, and loved ones. Our lives are captured by digital cameras and shared online. We read blogs for their personalities and unique take on the world. Even dry data like bank balances and weather forecasts have become ways to accentuate and improve your daily life.

The internet is now fully people-centric: a human network.
-- Matt Haughey -

It's people. The Human Network is made out of people. They're making our network out of people. Next thing they'll be breeding us like cattle for food. You've gotta tell them. You've gotta tell them! -- Phillip Torrone -

The human network has evolved from the clan to the Internet. We are all part of a flat, mega-connected hierarchy, allowing social interaction in its purest form, from the simplest emotional gasps to the most complicated intellectual debates. The human network is humanity in its purest and most beautiful form.
-- Mike Arrington - TechCrunch
A flat hierarchy. Deep.
posted by delmoi at 6:04 AM on June 25, 2007

I was going to post this yesterday, but I thought it was rather pointless. Corporation pays money to people to talk about their products, News at 11.

And there's always fluffy airless shit being said about the New Internet. [yawn, bah humbug!]
posted by gsb at 6:50 AM on June 25, 2007

This human network, it vibrates?
posted by nasreddin at 7:37 AM on June 25, 2007

The Human Network is made out of people.

So's Soylent Green!
posted by Foosnark at 7:48 AM on June 25, 2007

Yeah, I had a lot of reservations about participating in that thing last fall and we had to do a lot of back and forth to scale it back but it was still kinda weird and blurred a line.

The current brouhaha over the Microsoft one seems to be that it's more apparent it's Microsoft and definitely comes off as more of an endorsement of the company instead of the fluffy message.
posted by mathowie at 7:55 AM on June 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

It's ok Matt. Even Fred and Barney had to sell their soul for a little ad revenue.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:07 AM on June 25, 2007

I'm glad I clicked on this, because it was interesting, and I had serious doubts when I saw "paradigm" in the thread.
posted by misha at 8:09 AM on June 25, 2007

A flat hierarchy. Deep.

Hey, give the guy a break. I mean, we flattened the hierarchy, so what do we call it now?
posted by grobstein at 8:18 AM on June 25, 2007

The Microsoft thing has me pissed off. Advertising is not a conversation, it’s a persuasion. You don’t have a conversation with a car salesman, you have a sales pitch. Making the pitch feel like a conversation is what marks out the best salesmen, but it doesn’t make it one.

In fact, the endless bullshit spouted by Nick Chase makes so much more sense when you sub persuasion for conversation:
It says that Microsoft paid them to write, which is simply not true. They were invited to join a persuasion with readers about Microsoft's new theme, and they did so, but they didn't write about it on their blogs. (link)

Why this knee jerk assumption that an important character in the persuasion happening in our world is evil, wrong, malicious? (link)
Also, for folks really interested in conversation there are surprisingly few (read: 0) comments on their blog.
posted by bonaldi at 8:50 AM on June 25, 2007

I agree with the above. Advertising for companies is normal, lots of people do it. When it's cloaked in something "new" about the "conversation" it's even more annoying.
posted by cell divide at 10:23 AM on June 25, 2007

That Barney Rubble. What an actor!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:55 PM on June 25, 2007

How is this different than paid speakers at a conference like Web 2.0? The speakers are presumably paid and they're expected to say something relevant to the topic of the conference. Is this different?
posted by zippy at 1:01 AM on June 26, 2007

It's about editorial independence. The point of Web 2.0 or other conferences isn't to advertise, whereas conversational persuasion marketing is.

Imagine Walt Mossberg was paid many dollars to stand up before a Steve Jobs keynote and talk for 10 minutes about what "Think Different" meant to him. Would that taint his next gushing review of the iMac?
posted by bonaldi at 7:20 AM on June 26, 2007

I believe that many companies really do want to have a conversation - a two-way communication - with the people that they affect and hope to affect.

I also believe that few of them know how to go about doing it. These sorts of activities are generally put under the heading of marcom or P.R., and end up in the hands of people who only know how to promote ideas, not necessarily discuss them.

Lastly, I believe that, over time, this will change. However, like most change, it will be uncomfortable, we will go through an awkward time, and it will take longer than we really want it to. In the process, we'll learn a few things in more concrete terms about which we once had hunches - like what the ground rules are for corporate participation in collective Internet culture.
posted by rush at 2:49 PM on June 26, 2007

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