Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Virtual networks

I have been thinking about an interesting experiment - in my last post (there actually was a post in between. but that was DOA), I was asking for a couple of blog addresses so that I read them when I find time. Of course, I didn't expect a deluge of addresses - found one interesting one of the one (ew!!) - Sukus left the door number of his virtual abode. I went to his, and from there to Vasu's and to others I didn't know of. Followed this up with Chaith's blog and Sagnik's from there. Based on all these virtual tours, here's what I think.

Blogs present us an interesting way of connecting to people. There are 3 kinds of relationships that you typically find in this scenario (I already sound like an OB class).

1. Degree 1 - Weak Relationships: Where you go to a blogspot regularly and read a person's blog. Of course, the blogger has no idea that you come there quite often since you don't think of leaving a comment or trace of any kind during your visit. I am not considering the blogs you hit upon once or twice by accident, curse lord that you ever came there and leave, never to come back there again.

2. Degree 2 - Substantial relationships: In this scenario, you leave a comment on the blog, or in some cases, leave a message in the chat or in some way persist your presence in the blog. What you do is to notify the blogger that you come there often, like or enjoy what he's writing (to the point that it evoked an opinion) and take the liberty to express it.

3. Degree 3 - Strong relationships: When you leave a link to someone's blog in your blogspot so that anyone who comes to your blog, might go to the "enlisted" person's blog too. By putting the link, you somehow endorse the person's blog - the reasons why you do that might be many - like

  • You go there often and hence want to make life easier by leaving a link in your blog
  • You know him quite well and find his blog interesting, and hence leave a link there just as you would add CNN or google
  • He left a link to your blog and you leave a link to his blog.

Let's for now, leave the social obligation point number 3. In the other two cases having a link means that you share the taste of the other person. Showing this graphically would have helped me a lot (I was actually contemplating about writing an applet to prove my point. But due to lack of resources and infrastructure, the idea was skipped!). So, if everyone can put down why he or she finds the other person's blog interesting (which actually is virtually impossible) and if there are reasons apart from being acquainted with his life, it's very possible that you find

  • An interest group of people whose identity you can trust (because there's an iterative endorsement doing the rounds). This identity group can go ahead and take up activities together or start a common communication channel.
  • Another interesting possibility is when you find a group that starts with You and as you traverse, ends with You again. what you have is a closed set of people who frankly, I have no idea what you can do with. But the idea is interesting.

Coming to strong and substantial relationships, both of these give you a way to traverse from one blog to another. One thing that I did notice in most of the cases I went to is that, it's the same guys who keep commenting all the time probably because (let's face it!), only those couple of guys read our blogs. If that were not the case, and people do comment on blogs freely ... I am probably speculating too much - but apart from sheer laziness or aesthetic preferences, do you think there's a line between commenting on someone's blog and leaving a link to his blog from yours. I think so - but as of now, I don't have any data to substantiate my claim.

I was also thinking that blogger should somehow help us have a look at weak relationships (at least with registered users on whom it can have identity information). But then again, with Internet and the cookie crap, it would be hard to find out the identity of every user who checks in. That also might initiate an attitude of playing to the gallery - which will sap the fun out of the whole affair.
I have a feeling that I am leaving this idea half-baked. I want to give it sometime so that the ideas germinate - but realistically, I don't think I will come back to this again. Anyways, optimism prevails. Let me sign off.


Blogger Comrade Chicken said...

Was flipping through blogs [next] [next] [next] and happened across yours...

Not too wordy. Not too lengthy. Just right.

No flies on you, sir!

2:58 PM  

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