Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Nothing Neutral

Danah Boyd's post here at Corante about how bloggers link is very, very, interesting. Just read this for a sample:
Traditionally, there is power in keeping your black book shut; one’s position in a network can be quite powerful. You get kudos by helping two unconnected people. You can limit information flow and acquire credit when you take something from one group to another. (This is the basis for some interesting work on creativity - creativity is when bridges connect information from disparate worlds.) While some think that transparency is good, some hide their network to maintain power. For example, if as a blogger, you provide “cool links,” you want others to read you, not the collection of people you read. Of course, a reasonable counter argument is that this person is no longer needed as a bridge, but as a curator. Still, some people hide so that they must be asked for recommendations directly and thus can control who they send people to. (Note: this is a particular kind of power move; transparency can also be a power move by through gifting.)

She articulates and quantifies many things we were tossing around at Blogher. Especially this,
... there’s nothing neutral about an algorithm

And how about this:
The press want a list of the best and many bloggers want the attention of the press and thus want to be listed among the best. Breaking this cycle is virtually impossible, but it how power maintains power. And in our current system, we are doing a damn fine job of replicating the power structures that pervade everyday life under the auspices of creating a new system that usurps power. Ah, what fun.
This was precisely my position at BlogHer -- that we need to throw off the same-old-same-old power structures and that was SUPPOSEDLY what blogging was all about in the beginning, but how interesting it is to see where we've gotten -- completely becalmed in a sea of status quo.