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The Rise of the Web √ Tick

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As a user of the social web, you know about feeds and friending and following. You may even be familiar with bacn and toast.

But have you taken note of the lowly web tick — appearing in ever-more web interfaces?

You’ve surely used a tick — perhaps already several times today.

The like is a tick. But before the like, many flags were also ticks, as well. The single-star-to-favorite and the insta-follow are ticks, as are the upvote and downvote on social news sites.

One-click-ordering was almost, but not quite, a tick. If retweet skipped the confirmation dialog, it would be a tick, too.

The tick is a special kind of click — a click which takes immediate effect, with visual confirmation but no (perceivable) page reload. No confirmation or continuation is necessary to complete its action.

That action has a persistent influence on future attention: of the user, their associates, site admins, or the entire audience of the site.

The like is advertised to friends, other likers, and even (at the very least through the grand total) complete strangers. The flag highlights content to site admins – or even triggers automatic censorship. The upvote or downvote changes the prominence of articles and comments to a larger audience. The follow may immediately notify the target or peers, and means a new inflow of chosen content, in perpetuity — until a later unfollow tick.

A tick is thus the smallest, easiest gesture that can contribute to larger attention cascades. An interface that uses a tick properly is like a lever with a well-placed fulcrum, turning a tiny initial force — an almost effortless twitch, even — into a larger effect on a wider audience.

Ticktrails are as meaningful on the Likernet as outlinks and clicktrails are on the Internet — an essential part of digital stigmergy. Facebook and Twitter may soon make most of their money from pay-per-tick offerings.

Are your favorite projects and sites using ticks where they need an attention force multiplier?

Written by gojomo

2010-10-17 at 12:02

Welcome to the Likernet… like ‘er or not

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Like, Totally

The Internet was a great prototype for geeks and knowledge-worker bees.

But the cool kids and average folks have arrived, and the Internet has been kind of a mess for them — what with spammers and phishers and predators and nutballs all over.

So now Facebook brings us the successor to the Internet: the Likernet.

Instead of the Internet’s web of links, the Likernet offers a social graph of likes.

What the hell was a “link”, anyway? And “web” sounds like something you’re stuck in before a spider eats you. I know what I like, and it’s not chains and spiders.

The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it, which was kind of nice. Unfortunately the Internet also interprets every unguarded email, form, website, and program as an opening into which to spray its unsolicited marketing, harassment, and malware.

In the Likernet, things only come to you from friends. I like friends. Who doesn’t? In the Likernet, you don’t need filters and antivirus software — a stern look or sarcastic remark is enough to let your friend know when they should cut out the monkey business.

Google did a bang-up job of making the anarchic shantytown Internet habitable, with their rankings and filters and reported-attack warnings and sandboxes, but Google can now take some well-earned time off. The shiny Facebook highrises are ready for occupancy, with their reliable doormen and standard modern social plugin appliances.

Facebook’s Likernet is a bright, safe, sanitary metropolis. It’s like Singapore, but in cyberspace with 100 times more citizens. Most current Internet residents will prefer to move to the Likernet. And even if you don’t want to move, you may find the Likernet rising all around you, leaving older Internet districts as blighted slums.

Written by gojomo

2010-04-24 at 13:44

Five Largest Nations by Population or Active Users, early 2010

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  1. China, 1.3 gigacitizens
       geographic single-party “people’s republic”, president Hu Jintao and premier Wen Jiabao
  2. India, 1.2 gigacitizens
       geographic federal republic/parliamentary democracy, prime minister Manmohan Singh
  3. Facebook, 400+ megacitizens
       networked-membership corporate principality, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg
  4. United States, 308 megacitizens
       geographic federal constitutional presidential republic, president Barack Obama
  5. Indonesia, 231 megacitizens
       geographic presidential republic, president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Good luck, Mark!

Written by gojomo

2010-03-28 at 00:16

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