Mary Mary Not At All ContraryMary Hodder's got more great stuff about the issue of links and heirarchy in the blogosphere. Check it out.
I added a comment, recalling a conversation at Les Blogs in Paris this April, that Doc and Mary and I had on the weird spiral staircase at our hotel, about the notion of the net being all about linking intelligence.
Here's my comment from Mary's blog (it may not actually be posted yet since I think her comments go through some filter:
I still think the question about WHY lists should be developed at all, needs to be clarified. Before any algorithm was written, what were the assumptions inherent in the notion of "lists" anyway?
Naively perhaps, I thought the reason to develop a list was to point others to sources of new ideas and great writing. It was as simple as that for me. (Simple and difficult to imagine how "great writing" would be evaluated.) My understanding of blogs was an ever expanding universe of new voices and new ideas. That was my idea of "power" -- to learn new things, to enjoy new ideas, to enrich my knowledge and promote others to become powerful by sharing their intelligence, to build out a network of power by more and more links.
I didn't want a list that "knighted" certain people in a powerful heirarchy. What was the point of that? That orientation is all about promoting old voices and same-old-same-old ideas. That notion of "power" is about a stranglehold of privilege, the opposite of sharing, it's completely anti-Net.
Doc was talking to us about this in Paris -- remember Mary -- and these notions of power have a metaphorical equivalent in network structures. To build out a network of shared intelligence is what it's all about. Even the word "LINK" is not neutral. It describes the way the brain synapses work. It describes the way the Net was built. It describes an attitude of distributed SHARED intelligence. It's funny to remember what Doc concluded -- it's so FEMALE, the Net is so feminine, as is the notion of sharing power in a networked structure. (Ever heard of a "family?")
It's hardly surprising to me that a conference of women -- BLOGHER -- questioned this notion at its roots.
We're talking about the POWER of networks -- not seizing power, but sharing power.