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Putting things in perspective…

Those of you that regularly ready my blog are most likely aware of my deep fascination with not only social media, but the cultural, anthropological and psychological aspects behind it’s use. I’m always interested in “what’s next” and the “why” behind it. The future us “social media junkies” talk about is the semantic web (aka. web 3.0)…a fascinating, widely philosophized topic that you can easily get lost in.

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, expressed his vision of the Internet as follows:

“I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialize.”

Sounds like a scary thought, but we’re all contributing to it whether we like it or not. Professor Michael Wesch explains it best in his video “Web 2.0 – The Machine is Using Us“. Today I stumbled upon a visual representation of the blogosphere that really got me thinking. I have pasted it below.


This is an actual diagram depicting the blogosphere. The core represents mainstream discussion (politics, entertainment, headline news, etc…), whereas the branches represent increasingly obscure topics the further out they stretch. The lines represent connections between bloggers (e.g. inbound links and comments). The details are explained here. You can take this a step further and argue that this is a visual representation of human thought…begging the question, what happens when “this thing” thinks on it’s own?

This is not the reason for this random post however. Rather, it is something that got me thinking about much bigger things. I’ll give you a hint: Think of what  that illustration above really looks like (and no, it’s not from “The Mothman Prophecies“).

…did someone say space? the universe? stars? galaxies?

I want you all to watch this humbling video that caught my attention today. It’s not anything new, but it is presented in a powerful way and puts our “micro” level problems in perspective relative to the “macro” universe we live in.


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  1. Hey Mike, this is great. I too find it fascinating how ideas spread. Do you have any thoughts on the concept of Memes? One of the best explanations I’ve ever seen was a TEDtalk –

    I sometimes think about the near future, when more CPUs will be built than equivalent amount of new brains being born, and wonder if it’s possible Memes won’t need us anymore?

    I know that sounds a bit nuts, but watch Kevin Kelly talk about how the Internet substrate might evolve to enable this:

    He (in late 2007) compares the web to a human brain, which also surprisingly looks like the network of the Universe.

    Anyway, great post.

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