June 11, 2006

Hyperlinked Society

The Hyperlinked Society conference just took place. I greatly appreciated being an invited participant for a panel - "Navigating Nodes of Influence". So I suppose I've now officially joined the conference-oriate. In fact, given that I had the enjoyment of being a fellow-panelist with David Weinberger, I'm now one degree of separation away from anyone who has ever been prominent at a technical conference. And I suppose I could be said to be making, err, links, to Lee Rainie, Director, Pew Internet and American Life Project, and Peter Morville. Eszter Hargittai moderated our panel, which discussed various aspects of how users use links to find information and view links as imparting reputation. For example, I discussed my saying that "Google ranks popularity, not authority", and being the top result for a Google search for a term is often wrongly viewed as imbuing the result with some sort of endorsement (which leads to everything from Google-bombing to protests over rankings to censorship of search engines).

I find the whole conference experience to be unfamiliar, and rather difficult for me. Not in technical terms - after a while, I understood the basic goal, essentially the sociology of how people work with hyperlinks and the web. But the social practices are complicated, and I'm not skilled at them. An analogy would be that it's like trying to be part of a multiple conversation which is using a foreign language where you've taken lessons, but aren't fluent (What was that idiom? Do I reply back in the familiar mode or the formal mode? Am I saying what I mean? etc.). So no matter how many times you've attempted the glottal stop or rise-and-fall tonal inflection, there's a big difference in trying to do it in real time with no guides.

Gabe Rivera joked:

Seth Finkelstein is a consummate schmoozer, deftly milking his enpanelled status to expand his personal network for certain future professional advancement. Ok, that's not entirely true, but not entirely false!

Hee hee. It's a networking problem, and some of the issues aren't all that obscure (and in fact, this actually connects to the conference topic - links on the web, links between people, high Google PageRank, A-listers, there are semi-amusing structural parallels). I did chat with various people, e.g. (name drop!) Nick Carr, Mary Hodder, and Jay Rosen said hello (now if I don't mention someone I should, I'll offend them ...). I kept trying to figure out a good way to talk to Jeff Jarvis about Internet censorship coverage, but the conference ended before I could find a way to phrase it which seemed satisfactory.

But it was good for my ego to hear nice things, to have people compliment me.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in cyberblather | on June 11, 2006 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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a "good way" to talk to Jeff Jarvis about internet censorship coverage?? shall we consider it like spreading cold butter on very soft bread? Conferences though are *very* strange....and can indeed give you the "well, how did I get *here*?" feeling. Amazes me every time :-)

Posted by: tish grier at June 22, 2006 11:15 AM