Facebook’s Cohesive Web and Postmodern Epistemology

In the Broadcast Age, based upon a modernist society, information came from one trusted source that informed our opinions and governed our understanding. In the Social Age, based upon a postmodern society, information is like a web, with multiple nodes that continually feeding and receiving information. You can read more about this in yesterday’s post.

In our Social Age, the webs of information with the most authority are those that are the most cohesive. Four scenarios to help explain what I mean:

  1. Saying that your product is great is a Broadcast tactic — you are saying it about yourself, offering a structured reason why, but it’s ultimately modernist.
  2. If you have a web of information about you, drawn from various sources, but many of those sources conflict and are perhaps hard to find, you have a not so cohesive web.
  3. If you have a web of information about you that is easy to find, but it’s all positive, it may be cohesive, but it is also not genuine, because you’re deciding what gets seen.
  4. If you have a web of information that says your product is great, but you aren’t controlling it and instead showing what people say, then you are more authentic and genuine, and therefore more cohesive.

What I’ve always liked is ASOSReviews.com, which shows everything everyone is saying about ASOS on Twitter — whether good or bad. This instills trust and confidence — and the impressive high positive sentiment they have tells me that the people, the nodes, are pleased with ASOS therefore creating a more cohesive web of information.

What Facebook are doing, as I try to explain, is link the conversation and semantics — the nodes — from around the web to provide cohesive webs of information. This is what the internet is actually supposed to be. The internet is a not a medium for out data — the internet is our data.

Robert Coaldini, by the way, has 6 weapons of influence that I think contribute to making a more cohesive web: Reciprocity, Commitment and Consistency, Social Proof, Authority, Liking, Scarcity. I’d certainly say Facebook’s Social Plugins are heavily based around these.

I’m sure there’s far more here that can be discussed, but I’m just really stoking the intellectual fires and hoping we can talk this through more. Let me know what you think.

Archived Comments

  • sytaylor

    Uncanny David Brent. Just sayin.

    This is actually the “web” Tim Berners Lee invented, finally being realised. The idea of “The Cloud” was that it would be “Semantic”, or self aware to some extent. Instead of “Data Label: Data” it becomes “Data Label: Relationship to Other Data: Data”.

    By linking data together it has value, and meaning. So instead of “Author: Scott Gould” it becomes “Author: Has a Blog [link]: Scott Gould”. As soon as you begin tying this data together it becomes much more valuable. I’m compiling a list of my favourite TED talks to today, the TBL Semantic Web one is getting a link in 3,2,1…

    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/tim_berners_l...

  • / Scott Gould

    Hey Sy

    Will watch this tonight – I think this will be right in line with what I’m thinking here.

    Thanks for curating it for me

    :-)

  • sytaylor

    Did you check it? His older 18 minute version has much more detail

    http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_berners_lee_on_the...

  • / Scott Gould

    Started watching but got derailed – thanks for pointing me back – will watch tonight.

23rd April, 2010

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