Emerging Technologies Conference

A list of downloadable presentation files is available.

One of the sessions on social software by Clay Shirky has been widely blogged and discussed. Summarises Daniel Smith:

What is it that makes a large, long lived group successful? Clay’s answer: “It Depends!”

Some things are universally true:

– cannot separate technical and social patterns/concerns
– conversation can’t be forked
– cannot completely program social issues in tech
– the group will assert its rights somehow
– members are different from end-users – there will always be some group of users that cares more than average about the success of the group.
– there will be a core group which “gardens” the environment

Some more:

– The core group has rights that trump the individual in some situations
– The one-person, one-vote system does not always work (such as an example to create a controversial newsgroup on Usenet. The people voting against it weren’t going to use it anyway)
– The people that want to have the discussion are the ones that matter

Clay thinks that you have to design a way to have members in good standing. You need barriers to participation. He thinks this killed Usenet. There must be some sort of segmentation of ability. Social software needs to have ease of use from the group point of view, as opposed to the individual. Ways need to be found to spare the group from scaling. Two way conversations do not scale well.

Daid Weinberger also has an elaborate discussion.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.