From: rhinoceros (email@example.com)
Date: Fri 04 Apr 2003 - 12:59:53 GMT
[rhinoceros] Here is an interesting concept. Googlewashing.
Then came this
(http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/jmoore/secondsuperpower.html). Entitled The Second Superpower Rears its Beautiful Head, by James F Moore, it was accompanied by a brand new blog.
The details need not detain us for very long, because the consequences of
this piece are much more important than its anodyne contents.
It's a plea for net users to organize themselves as a "superpower", and
represents a class of techno-utopian literature that John Perry Barlow has
been promoting - the same sappy stuff, but not as well written - for the
past ten years.
Now here's the important bit. Look what the phrase "Second Superpower"
produces on Google now. Try it!. Moore's essay is right there at the top.
And not just first, but it already occupies all but three of the first
The bashful Moore writes: "It was nice of Dave Winer [weblog tools vendor]
and Doc Searls [advertising consultant] to pick up on it, even if it's not
really ready for much exposure." No matter, Moore is an overnight A-list
blogging superstar, at his very first attempt.
Although it took millions of people around the world to compel the Gray Lady
to describe the anti-war movement as a "Second Superpower", it took only a
handful of webloggers to spin the alternative meaning to manufacture
sufficient PageRankT to flood Google with Moore's alternative, neutered
Indeed, if you were wearing your Google-goggles, and the search engine was
your primary view of the world, you would have a hard time believing that
the phrase "Second Superpower" ever meant anything else.
To all intents and purposes, the original meaning has been erased.
Obliterated, in just seven weeks.
All a strange coincidence, no doubt, but the picture darkens when you look
at a parallel conversation taking place elsewhere, whose hyperlinks
contributed to the redefinition, and help explain how this semantic
ethnic-cleansing took place so quickly.
Moore's subversion of the meaning of "Secondary Superpower" - his high
PageRankT from derives from followers of 'A-list' tech bloggers linking from
an eerily similar "Emergent Democracy" discussion list, which in turn takes
its name from a similarly essay posted by Joi Ito [Lunch - Lunch - Lunch -
Segway - Lunch - Lunch - Fawning Parody] who is a colossus of authority in
these circles, hence lots of PageRankT-boosting hyperlinks, and who like
Moore, appeared from nowhere as a figure of authority.
Lunchin' Ito's essay is uncannily similar to Moore's - both are vague and
elusive and fail to describe how the "emergent" democracy might form a legal
framework, a currency, a definition of property or - most important this,
when you're being hit with a stick by a bastard - an armed resistance (which
in polite circles today, we call a "military").
As with Moore, academic and historical research in this field is vapored
away, as if by magic.
But the real marvel is that they did it with so few people. Pew Research
Center's latest research says the number of Internet users who look at blogs
is " so small that it is not possible to draw statistically meaningful
conclusions about who uses blogs." They peg it at about four per cent. But
we're looking at a small sub-genre of blogdom, the tech blogs, and
specifically, we're looking at an 'A list' of that sub- sub-genre.
Writing about Google's collusion with the People's Republic of China to
block access to mainland users, censorship researcher Seth Finkelsetein
"Contrary to earlier utopian theories of the Internet, it takes very little
effort for governments to cause certain information simply to vanish for a
huge number of people."
Rub out the word 'government', and replace it with 'weblog A-list'. In this
case a commons resource, this very potent and quite viral phrase, was
created by millions of people. But it was poisoned by a very select number
of 'bloggers'. Possibly a dozen, but no more than 30, we'd guess.
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
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