Small Ideas

Finding the next big idea by exploring small ones – by Rishi Khaitan

I usually hate articles about blogging but this is one is great

without comments

Blogs to Riches: The Haves and Have-Nots of the Blogging Boom. Oh, and just for reference while reading the article, I’m not an A, B, or C-list blogger. I’m probably a Z-lister. =(

The author, Clive Thompson, referencing Clay Shirky, an instructor at New York University specializing in the social dynamics of the Internet, has this scientific explanation of the grossly disproportionate traffic flow in the blogging world:

Economists and network scientists have a name for Shirky’s curve: a “power-law distribution.” Power laws are not limited to the Web; in fact, they’re common to many social systems. If you chart the world’s wealth, it forms a power-law curve: A tiny number of rich people possess most of the world’s capital, while almost everyone else has little or none. The employment of movie actors follows the curve, too, because a small group appears in dozens of films while the rest are chronically underemployed. The pattern even emerges in studies of sexual activity in urban areas: A small minority bed-hop, while the rest of us are mostly monogamous.

The power law is dominant because of a quirk of human behavior: When we are asked to decide among a dizzying array of options, we do not act like dispassionate decision-makers, weighing each option on its own merits. Movie producers pick stars who have already been employed by other producers. Investors give money to entrepreneurs who are already loaded with cash. Popularity breeds popularity.

Anyways, the article is a bit longish but well worth the read. It offers some great insight into the blogging community.

UPDATE: Clay Shirky’s original article Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality published back in 2003.

Written by Rishi

February 15th, 2006 at 4:56 pm

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