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Saturday, November 12, 2005


I'm supposed to be reading Rheingold's Smart Mobs (should've started with The Virtual Community, only that's coming on a slow boat from New York) but you know how it is when you're reading in new territory & keep hitting new concepts that have to be explored?

I tripped over a reference to Reed's Law in the intro... I'm familiar with its predecessors, Moore's & Metcalfe's, but this was a new one on me. So off I went a-googling. Pretty soon I found myself at an interview with the man himself, which struck me as very entertainingly put together, so I scrolled down & discovered I was reading one of David Weinberger's projects: JOHO, Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization.

Now, David Weinberger is the co-author of the Cluetrain Manifesto, which I loved back in the days of studying T171 & had only recently put back into my bookmarks, following another serendipitious encounter... & as part of that exploration (incidentally prompted by studying T175, the replacement course) I'd acquired a new sigfile from another of Weinberger's pages:
"Those who would censor ideas might realize that the Internet couldn't tell a good bit from a bad bit if it bit it on its naughty bits." (Searls & Weinberger)

Anyway, I diverted further into JOHO & found a wonderfully wicked piss-take on the obfuscating academic jargon that abounds in the world of post-modernism, or as Weinberger has it, "PoMo". This article made me laugh out loud, so I signed up to the newsletter & told Weinberger why (the sign-up acknowledgement comes with a friendly little exhortation to tell him who you are).

Half an hour later, back came a personal reply, thanking me for my introduction & suggesting we were now even, since my "upgas" blog post had made him laugh, too. How cool is that?

It took me right back to 1999 & T171 (yes, again - it was that sort of course) when as a mere student I gained a certain reputation (so I later learned) for sharing a quite extensive email exchange I'd had with Bob Taylor (Xerox PARC guru) on the subject of horizontal mangement. It struck me at the time that this was something very special about the Internet: the way it removed barriers & allowed connections to be made across not only geographical divides, but across traditional hierarchies. Tonight's experience was a lovely confirmation of that.


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