URLs of wisdom is a weekly round-up of interesting links about topics at the intersection of people, science and technology. This is a bumper edition as I’ve been busy organising the Open Knowledge Festival that took place last week!
Social Network Analysis
- Organisational hierarchy – adapting old structures to new changes. Interesting discussion of how network structure influences information flow in an organisation.
Thinking about algorithms and user behaviour:
- I’m feeling lucky – can algorithms better engineer serendipity in research – or in journalism? “…how unexpected was the encounter or connection; how much insight did it require from the person making it; and how much value did it give them? Whether or not this works for every instance, it shows the variety of ways in which one can define an encounter as serendipitous — and how often a seemingly lucky event was in fact somewhat directed.”
- Forget the wisdom of crowds: neurobiologists reveal the wisdom of the confident “In recent years, researchers have spent a significant amount of time and effort teasing apart the factors that make crowds stupid. One important factor turns out to be the way members of a crowd influence each other. It turns out that if a crowd offers a wide range of independent estimates, then it is more likely to be wise. But if members of the crowd are influenced in the same way, for example by each other or by some external factor, then they tend to converge on a biased estimate. In this case, the crowd is likely to be stupid.”
- The dawn of personalised products “Personalizing software is all about figuring out how to help people develop a sense of identity using the service, and then building features that let them accomplish that naturally.”
- Why the grass is always greener on social media “Relationships that exist solely online can skew the perception of community fitness because they’re tailored specifically to us, but it’s hard to look away from something that seems so right.”
- The politics of science in social media “Current science policy campaigns must fight against increasing ‘petition fatigue’: when social media makes campaigning easier, any single campaign risks getting lost in the noise, and science policy becomes yet another competitor for our attention. In the new attention and expertise economy, scientists must forge ever closer links with celebrity and journalism to get their message across.”
- What is public? Discussion of various factors at play in our considerations of what is considered to be public information online. “Ultimately, we rely on a set of unspoken social agreements to make it possible to live in public and semi-public spaces. If we vent about our bosses to a friend at a coffee shop, we’re trusting that no one will run in with a camera crew and put that conversation on national TV.”
- Must-reads for how to study people’s online behavior (and navigate the ethical challenges that entails!)
Web/Social media developments
- Facebook introduces save for later feature
- Reddit live – is live
- Online discussions and Mosaic – The Wellcome Trust’s online magazine editor explains how they’re encouraging conversations about their stories in various places online – with varying successes.
- The five immutable laws of digital marketing – inequality, virality, commonplace, interruption and gravity.
- Is the value of good Marketing and Community management overlooked in Silicon Valley? Interesting read about growing a start-up and the importance of “emotional labor that is at once essential and invisible.”
- Lessons in scaling Community Management from reddit’s former Community Manager – lots of good advice here.
Just for fun
Feeling really old…?