Tag Archives: info flow

4 core issues of info flow in a networked society

danah boyd’s talk at web2expo overflows w/ insights! I don’t care what others said about her presentation. Ok, I wasn’t there, but even if she wasn’t at her best, and if she just read her presentation, I think if you really paid some attention, you’d still appreciate it very much.
I guess it’s kinda relevant to ‘Stimulation’, one of  the four core issues she highlighted. What we focus our attention on isn’t necessarily the best information or content. Sure, presentation skills are important in conveying the message, but I do think we are all too impatient and focus too much on speed and packaging rather than content. Insight has to be eye-candy, too for most people to start payng attention. This might be the internet era, but the age-old issue still persists: we judge too quickly based on what we immediately perceive without trying to look deeper or LISTEN first.
Below is an overview of the 4 core issues of info flow in a networked society, which form part of danah boyd’s presentation, “Streams of Content, Limited Attention: The Flow of Information through Social Media”:
1. Democratisation – democratising certain types of access isn’t equivalent to democratising attention. It doesn’t mean that you can get your voice heard that everyone will listen. Attention is brokered by many factors other than accessibility.
2. Stimulation – attention isn’t always given to the ‘best’ content but to the most ‘emotional’. eg. gossip, violence, sex. Over-stimulation can lead to a numbing or desensitation of society, and thus disconnection, which of course goes against the principles and values of networks.
3. Homophily – we connect to those most like us, but with this connection comes an innate exclusion of those least like us. On one hand we’re building tribes, but also we’re excluding other world views. This can potentially stunt the growth and expansion of our doxa.
4. Power - networked structures of consumption are also configured by power.  In a distribution-focused mdoel, access is power. But in a network, access alone isn’t power. Command of attention/traffic, influence gives rise to power of info-brokers, not just to the content creators.
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