February 8, 2006 04:15 | Confession / Culture / Technology / WebBlogging / WebTech

On the success of weblogs et al

The success of all these things such as weblogs, websyndication, etc, is directly attributable, I think, to one basic fact: weblogs are basic, rudimentary Content Management Systems. At risk of over-simplifying, I say that human intellect, human intelligence itself, in vasty varying levels of sophistication, is also a Content Management System.

And while over the course of human development we have evolved methods to bridge all our individual Content Management Systems, by using such technologies as speech, writing, printing and their myriad extensions, in keeping with the acceleration afforded to it by "electric communication", it is in the past 10 years that we have built the infrastructure for what we have over the last 3, seen emerge.

It is still early. We have not yet transposed semantics into what we have built recently yet. That will come. Soon.

I gleefully repeat to anyone who will listen, that we are "building out telepathy", echoing McLuhan's "we are extending our central nervous systems"... though we have overshot that already! The nerves are laid out in fiber optic, cable, wireless and POTS world-wide, the basic methods of sending data standardized in protocols layered in the TCP/IP stack (HTTP is a layer in that; the Application layer).

We began relaying messages at first. Now we have begun structuring the messages. This will continue.

All our technology is externalization of ourselves. As such it is fundamentally organic and follows easily predictable paths; if you have the patience and know how to tend a bonsai tree...


long post "planned" on dose on this, but some quick thoughts: ideas (whether artistic or otherwise) are forged in brains with much input from many directions. An interesting thing now with net: you can better track the genesis of ideas, and some of the inputs. Any man who was an island in the old days sure as hell isn't now.

also: the collective thought process -- which is essentially what all thought processes are, by sharing of info from different sources -- is so much faster now. from inputs, genesis, output, I think we can move much faster now becasue of communications quickness - plus ideas have no time/geography limitations any more. so several brains can be better "connected" than they were pre-blog etc.

finally: we are all walking around with all sorts of knowledge in our brains, most of which is not being used for any constructive purposes. weblogging etc has allowed us to upload our knowledge onto a central holding pen (the net( that all the world has access to, and can put to useful work, if interested. in the old days, most of us just hung onto our knowledge, maybe sharing with friends or colleauges, and the odd stranger - but the ability to find and sift that old knowledge was absent, and much of it we just held on to. now there's a place to put it and millions of people analysing it and building something out of it.

but not nearlly enough of that knowledge is available yet. what happens when more of it is?

An externalization though? That assumes an inside an outside. It's funny because when I conceive of where the branches are headed, so-to-speak, I also think of roots get entangled. Hugh's last point speaks to this: we can pick up each other's thoughts and processes so easily. Find them and share them, reshape and inform them. I've always believed that you can draw the boundaries of any 'organism' wherever you like. Extending a central nervous system is all well and good, but maybe cancers grow when that reach is a little too ambitious. Here's hoping too many wirless waves in the air won't be end up being our lead in the aqueducts ...