Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
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Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Blogosphere Dynamics - a Challenge

Jeff goes ballistic on Juan - this is hyperpolarization at it's finest. Blogs were (are) supposed to be conversations. So why do we see this kind of naked aggression and cheesy bullying instead?

Let's go back to my simple model (based on Sunstein): hyperpolarization happens when it's cheaper to find reinforcing information than it is to find information that challenges your beliefs (factoring in the cognitive costs of dissonance). This suggest two strategies for blogosphere mechanisms to promote true discussion.

First, make challenging information at least as cheap than reinforcing information. Second, make reinforcing information at least as costly as challenging information. In practice, what this means are mechanisms that integrate the presentation of both sides of a debate - that create barriers to access for reinforcing information, or remove barriers to access for challenging information. The Daou Report is a primitive attempt at this.

Better attempts would transform costs by automating various parts of the information flow, as well as factor in cognitive costs (perhaps by alternately weighting different sides of the debate) - that's the hard part. It's a challenge, but a huge opportunity for would-be blogosphere capitalists. I expect to see numbers of these springing up in the next 6 months or so - let's call them discussion machines for lack of a better term.

-- umair // 11:16 AM // 0 comments


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