Tag Archives: Wikipedia

Social Bargains: Ubiquitous!

The closing section to the final chapter in Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody is a perfect summation to both his book and this course.  In All Groups Have Social Dilemma, Shirky looks at many of the social internet trends and case studies he mentioned throughout his book (and many others mentioned previously in prior blog posts and class readings).  Some examples of successful social platforms on the Internet worth noting and summarizing: Continue reading


Collaborative promises, tools and bargains

In the final chapter of Here Comes Everybody, Shirky writes that there are three things that must exist before collaboration can happen: promise, tools, and bargain.

  1. Promise: reason people get involved in collaborations
  2. Tool: facilitators of such collaborative work
  3. Bargain: the rules and expectations of the collaborative group

It is when all three of the requirements are properly met and executed that a group succeeds in collaboration. In my section, I will be focusing on the bargain aspect and also touch on the complexities of collaboration.

A bargain defines the expectations of a group so that everyone can agree and follow accordingly. A successful bargain is one that is “a good fit for both he promise and the tool used” (261). Sometimes the bargain is simple, as in the case of Ivanna’s phone Shirky discusses in Chapter 1. Social networks come with more intricacy. In Flickr groups, there are intricate rules about posting that users must observe. For instance, you are not allowed to post pictures if you do not comment on the two previous images, and you must wait before making multiple postings. This is to combat Tragedy of the Commons, the temptation for user to post their work for potential viewers, but not bothering to pay attention to anyone else’s photos. Alan Page Friske refers to this phenomenon as “equality matching,” where the most talented members of the group don’t get much more attention than the least talented” (276).

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No reciepe for success

Facebook Network selection requirement

This week’s reading was Clay Shirky’s last chapter in Here Comes Everybody, chapter 11: Promise, Tool, Bargain. Shirky explains that en though “there is no recipe for the successful use of social tools…every working system is a mix of social and technological factors.” (260) Despite the inability to find an exact formula for success he claims that every successful example in his book has used the following three elements:

1.) Promise – This is the “why” someone should join or contribute to a specific group. It is vitally important because it is the the promise that converts the potential user into an actual user. Shirky explains that the key to a good promise is balancing between being too broad or too extreme. The key is that “the implicit promise of any given group matters more than any explicit one” (262). This idea of creating meaning and convincing  the potential user is unique because it is not simple “selling” the idea of social media, but convincing users to actually participate and take action.

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New Socialism and the Hive Mind

In their essays “The New Socialism: Global Collectivist Society is Coming Online” and “The Hazards of New Online Collectivism” Kevin Kelly and Jaron Lanier present two drastically views of online collectivism. While Kelly embraces online collectivism as the beginning of a new age in global cooperation, Lanier cautions against trusting the wisdom of an anonymous online collective. Continue reading

Collective Culture

Today’s readings include “The New Socialism: Global Collectivist Society Is Coming Online” by Kevin Kelly and “Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism” by Jaron Lanier. While in general, Kelly seems fascinated by the positive improvements that collectivism can offer our digital and social environments, Lanier criticizes the collectivism he calls “hive mind” for what elements he feels are lost in the transaction- our personality, our voice and even our ability to discern. Before explaining the tension between their ideas, I will first start with Kelly’s perspective.

In his article, Kelly describes the communal function of digital culture, its collectivism, as a new form of socialism. This is because the digital exchanges are centered around social interaction, not ideology as the term “socialism” evokes at first glance. Kelly terms it “a sort of socialism uniquely tuned for a networked world” (Kelly 1). It is characterized by an interaction that- as we have learned in discussing networks previously- relies heavily on a widespread connectivity of individuals; the eventual ability to “connect everyone to everyone” (Kelly 1). It is the force dubbed “dot-communism” by John Barlow in the 1990s, derived of “free agents” and a lack of owned property (Kelly 1). Since the Internet functions as a global platform, this new socialism produces a world-wide egalitarian environment. The implementation of the Creative Commons alternative copy right liscence and the proliferation of file sharing have aided this growing communal digital landscape.

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The Ongoing PROCESS Of The Social Web

Both Clay Shirky and Michel Bauwens emphasize the importance of the “coordinating resource” of the concept of the social web. While in chapter 5 of Shirky’s Here Comes Everyone he focuses on the impact of Wikipedia and its reasons for success, Bauwens piece on “the social web and its social contracts” aim to convey the same message – we exist in a world where participants of the internet appreciate the process of sharing and implement it as a very important social tool. Through Shirky’s chapter one can use the example of Wikipedia to understand the complex argument presented by Bauwens regarding the concepts of the sharing economy, benefit sharing, social platform owners, and the overall notion of the social web. Wikipedia itself is a social commons founded upon the basis of “collaborative production” – there would simply be no Wikipedia if those participants in the community did not make the edits to continuously improve the plethora of information available on the site.

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The Social Web

This weeks readings, Chapter 5 in Clay Shirkey’s Book, Here Comes Everybody, and Michael Bauwen’s article, “The Social Web and its Social Contracts” both deal with how the social web has created a new kind of form of interaction that has been jointly agreed upon by those who use the web. These social contracts are implicit and for the most part not expressly written but they form a new way of interaction on the web and in our society as a whole. Each writer also talks about how user interaction creates this new form of communication or societal contracts.

In his article, “The Social Web and it’s Social Contracts”, Michael Bauwens talks about how the basis for the web and many of its uses, such as chatrooms and blogs, are built on a underlying social contract that according to him is actually quite stable, even if it is somewhat implied and there are not any real written rules per se. Bauwens believes that internet users allow themselves to have their “attention to be monetized through advertising” because we enjoy the facilities of the internet so much and understand that it is in a sense the fair trade that we must give to use the qualities of the internet that we so value. Bauwens also says though, that we will only permit this fair exchange if it does not stop the ease with which we use the facilities of the Internet that we so enjoy and if that exchange does interrupt our favorite qualities of the Internet we as a society of Internet users will revolt and move elsewhere.

In chapter 5 of “Here Comes Everybody”, Clay Shirkey talks also about social web and the contracts that are in a way inherent within the Internet. Shirky specifically talks about Wikipedia and how it affects the notion of social contracts on the web. Nupedia was the original idea for Wikipedia or behind Wikipedia, however Nupedia failed, paving the way for Wikipedia. Wikipedia’s success may be due to fixing part of the reason that Nupedia failed. Nupedia had an extremely long review process by the owners of the website before posts were approved. Wikipedia has extremely quick updates by users and very little review process, which has also been the subject of complaints as well as admiration. Complaints often stem from the notion that early on in Wikipedia’s popularity, it was often thought of as being extremely faulty because of the little amount of review that each post was submitted to. Wikipedia was orignally created by the inventors of Nupedia, Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, wanted to create a free version of the higher end Nupedia. Wikipedia eventually became much more successful.

The name Wikipedia comes from the idea of Wiki’s which were small user-edited sites that were originally conceived and created in the mid 1990’s. The creator felt that users would want to have the control of editing and that they would innately trust others with the editing process. Namely one’s peers. After originally using wiki’s to work on rough drafts for Nupedia, Sanger and Wales gave wikipedia is own address and the site blew up, far surpassing the site visits and power of Nupedia. Wikipedia is completely user generated and controlled. A person can decide to create an entry for something, that is edited by peers of course, and then further entries are created off that. Thus the notion of a wikipedia race mentioned in other posts is created. According to Shirky, Wikipedia is able to “aggregate individual and often tiny contributions, hundreds of millions of them annually, made by millions of contributors, all performing different functions” (Shirkey 118). Wikipedia entries are a shared work. Everyone contributes on them and they are never fully done. Each person adds or edits it using what they know or what information they have links to. In this way it is a truly collaborative group project, which works because the users actually have to care about the “product” that is being turned out. For me, it would seem surprising that Wikipedia has been successful as it has been, maybe it is just the skeptic in me but, I would feel that there are enough people out there that don’t really care to make the information unreliable. But apparently, the participants are extremely committed to the outcomes, as Shirky would say.