Archives » May 21st, 2003

May 21, 2003

Blog Dynamics

Elwyn Jenkins at Microdoc News: Dynamics of a Blogosphere Story. This is a detailed look into the machinery of how stories unfold in BlogLand, the four types of posts, and the different waves the story goes through, with some people writing opinions and other people reacting and others summarizing, and others reacting to the summaries of the opinions. There’s a certain underlying absurdity to it all that gives it a hint of satire even though it’s an honest evaluation of what’s going on. Just read this passage:

Blogosphere stories most often start with an opinion type blog, usually reacting to something in mainstream media. Then, almost within hours several voters point to those original opinions giving either a negative or positive vote. Other opinion writers then add more to the story with reaction posts giving more than just a vote. Reaction posts react to an opinion posts, or to the voters. After sometime, a blogger will summarize what the story is about and draw together some of the opinions, reactions and note the voters. Voters then react to the summary and create another round of voting, reaction and opinion. A story usually ends with an online personality providing a summary of the story, reasonably even-handedly.

That’s so convoluted that you’d think Rube Goldberg had a hand in inventing blogging. And there’s a diagram in the article showing all the interactions that looks like someone put a flowchart in a blender. I have to chuckle because it’s all so funny, and then I realize I have to chuckle at myself because just this morning I was thinking of putting together some kind of summary of the whole Googlewash/Printwash story that Doc’s been talking about this week. So, yes, I’m equally guilty of absurdity. Just pin a giant yellow diamond to my chest and get it over with.


Okay, so nobody bought into the Divx idea from a few years ago. The idea was that you would buy a DVD disc for only three or four dollars, but it would only play in a Divx player (which, of course, cost hundreds). The Divx player would start a timer as soon as you watched the movie. For 48 hours, you could watch the movie as many times as you wanted. After that, the player would lock the disc and refuse to play it. You could buy another block of time for another three dollars (with a phone line and a credit card), and watch it again. This was apparently the DVD industry’s answer to rental chains. The idea, of course, crashed and burned, the company went out of business, and all those Divx discs are now locked forever.

Time passed, a new civilization was built on the ruins of the old, and everything passed into legend.

Now, three whole years later, they’re trying to make the mistake again. But this time with a twist! Disney has announced that they are going to sell DVD discs that will self-destruct, and I mean literally, chemically degrade, after 48 hours of exposure to oxygen. It comes in an airtight package, and opening it starts the death march. After its time is up the disc turns black and is basically trash. It’s the DVD equivalent of a styrofoam cup. I never thought I’d see an idea worse than Divx, but here it is. This actually makes Divx look like a stroke of genius by comparison. I had to check and double-check the date on the article to make sure it isn’t an April Fool’s joke. But, it looks like the technology’s been around for a few years. And the fact that it’s Disney who is the first to put it to use? Does not surprise me one bit.

This plan will fail just as badly as Divx. And I’ve got a whole jar of I Told You So that I’m saving for that day.

Hat tip: The Head Lemur