January 12, 2004

Mathematics of ordinary-blog non-influence

I've come up with a simple way to explain what's wrong with the idea of "One blogger is worth ten votes". Now, the sense of this idea is clearly that it's worthwhile to recruit recruiters. But the unintended consequence is that recruiting each other yields only a net waste of time. That is, consider the following scenario:

Eleven people of like mind talk to each other. They had the same views before, they end up with the same views after. But every single one of those eleven people says "I convinced 10 other people". Then the blog-boosterism runs "Aha, we have 11 people who each convinced 10 other people, so that's *110* more votes from BLOGGING! Feel the power OF THE BLOG!"

In reality, nothing changed. The choir preached to itself. But everyone got to think that they were an influencer, a kingmaker, even if just for a tiny kingdom. That's a seductive feeling.

There is, however, a notable effect. The organization which is passing around a collection-plate during these events, is raking in money. That's real. But it doesn't quite mean what the flock thinks it means.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in cyberblather | on January 12, 2004 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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