Cómo las audiencias están modelando el futuro de la noticias y la información.
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Chapter 4: The rules of participation

The abundance and proliferation of virtual communities and collaboration environments provide the opportunity for anyone to play just about any role in the journalistic process.

As we discussed in the last chapter, the audience has taken on the roles of publisher, broadcaster, editor, content creator (writer, photographer, videographer, cartoonist), commentator, documentarian, knowledge manager (librarian), journaler and advertiser (buyer and seller).

For media organizations and businesses to understand how to engage their empowered audience, we must consider what motivates the audience to take on their new roles and what kinds of rules yield the most fruitful participation. Finally, we look at reputation systems and the balance of trust that's struck between buyers and sellers or content creators and their online peers.

Why we participate

Through these emerging electronic communities, the Web has enabled its users to create, increase or renew their social capital. These communities are not merely trading grounds for information but a powerful extension of our social networks. And as in any social system, looking at our motivations helps us understand and trust the system as well as find our place in it.

The Hierarchy of Needs was the brainchild of Abraham Maslow, one of the founding fathers of humanistic psychology. He believed that people are motivated by the urge to satisfy needs ranging from basic survival to self-fulfillment, and that they don't fill the higher-level needs until the lower-level ones are satisfied.

imageIn her book Community Building on the Web, online community expert Amy Jo Kim mapped Maslow's offline needs to online community equivalents. Viewed in this context, we can assume that people are motivated to participate in order to achieve a sense of belonging to a group; to build self-esteem through contributions and to garner recognition for contributing; and to develop new skills and opportunities for ego building and self-actualization.1

Through our interviews and research on participatory journalism, we have compiled a list of reasons why audience members are becoming participants. While reading this list, consider that an individual may be motivated by multiple reasons.

To gain status or build reputation in a given community.
Social recognition is one of the biggest motivators, intoxicating participants with instant gratification and approval. This ego-driven motivation to enhance social capital is best captured by the advice Web sites and review engines rampant in the late 1990s, which enabled anyone to showcase his or her expertise and recommendations on just about any subject imaginable.

"People with expertise contributed answers, tidbits, essays, pages of software code, lore of astonishing variety," Howard Rheingold writes in Smart Mobs. "A few contributors earned the kind of currency banks accept. Most contributed for the social recognition that came with being a top-ranked reviewer. The 'reputation managers' that enabled users and other recommenders to rate each other made possible opinion markets that traded almost entirely on ego gratification."2

For some, the ego-driven surface of this motivation is more practical underneath — people want to establish themselves as an authority on a subject. For example, one the primary reasons people write a blog is that they aspire to become "legitimate" writers in mainstream media. The weblog becomes a place to hone their craft and showcase their skills.3

In general, this is viewed as a benefit to the individual. Small business proprietors, consultants and budding writers can quickly gain an audience and build a positive reputation that they can parlay into real-world business opportunities. But organizations can benefit as well because individual reputation can be transferred to some extent. For example, if a reporter begins to gain an involved audience through a weblog, that good will and trust could be transferred to the media organization that he or she works for.

These new forms also allow people who haven't had a voice — because of educational, economic, social or cultural barriers — to enter the dialogue by building a personal reputation. Online communities have also empowered those with physical or emotional impediments to blossom in a virtual space.4

To create connections with others who have similar interests, online and off.
An oft-read claim is that the majority of the billions of Web pages on the Internet today are junk. The trouble with this criticism is that the wheat — the relevant 2 percent — is different for every person. What many dismiss as "junk" is made by junkies – people who are fanatical or passionate about a subject.

People want to feed their obsessions and share them with like-minded individuals. This is what fuels, in large part, many social connections on the Internet. Whether it's a fan page for '50s and '60s jazz pianist and vocalist Buddy Greco, or a database of airfoils used in the wing design of aircraft, people are using online communities to share passions, beliefs, hobbies and lifestyles.

Stuart Golgoff, from the University of Arizona's Office of Distributed Learning, says that "while chat rooms, newsgroups, forums and message boards continue to play a role in computer-mediated communication, the Web has assumed a prominent place in forging relationships among people with common interests."5

According to a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, about 45 million participants in online communities say the Internet has "helped them connect with groups or people who share their interests." Participation in an online community, the study says, has helped them get to know people they otherwise would not have met.6

The same Pew study revealed that these virtual relationships are transferring to offline interaction. "In addition to helping users participate in communities of interest that often have no geographical boundaries, the Internet is a tool for those who are involved with local groups, particularly church groups (28 million). Internet users have employed the Internet to contact or get information about local groups."

Sociologist Barry Wellman argues that a good deal of new social capital is being formed through "glocalization" — the capacity of the Internet to expand users' social worlds to faraway people and simultaneously to connect them more deeply to the place where they live. According to the Pew study, "glocalization" is widespread. "The Internet helps many people find others who share their interests no matter how distant they are, and it also helps them increase their contact with groups and people they already know and it helps them feel more connected to them."

Sense-making and understanding.
Faced with an overwhelming flow of information from a massive number of media sources, people are increasingly going to online communities to learn how to make sense of things. Moreover, the conglomeration and corporatization of media and the sophisticated means by which sources (such as politicians and business executives) "spin" media leaves the mass audience often grasping to make sense of the news and wondering what information to trust.

Witness the increasing number of experts on TV news trying to explain market fluctuations, political maneuvers and medical advancements. But that doesn't completely satisfy the audience, write Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel in their book The Elements of Journalism, because "a journalism that focuses on the expert elite — the special interests — may be in part responsible for public disillusionment. Such a press does not reflect the world as most people live and experience it."

Weblogs, forums, usenets and other online social forms have become real-time wellsprings of sense-making from their peers on just about any subject. They also function as archives of perspective.

According to a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, "The pull of online communities in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks shows how Americans have integrated online communities into their lives. In the days following the attacks, 33 percent of American Internet users read or posted material in chat rooms, bulletin boards, or other online forums. Although many early posts reflected outrage at the events, online discussions soon migrated to grieving, discussion and debate on how to respond, and information queries about the suspects and those who sponsored them."7

To inform and be informed.
Participants in discussion forums, weblogs and collaborative publishing communities also play the role of "thin media" publishers, inexpensively providing news, information and advice not normally found in mainstream media.

Everyone on the Internet is a potential expert on some subject — from Pez dispensers to digital photography techniques to wormholes — and these participatory forms are great places to find and share not only obscure or rare information, but commentary that might be too controversial for mainstream media.

"Thin media publishers are far nimbler and will feed happily on new niches that are far too obscure for traditional media to notice and too thin for traditional media to profitably mine," says Henry Copeland, founder of the Web consultancy Pressflex and author of the weblog Blogads. "And, because they are small and nimble, thin media can help discover and invent the Next Big Thing much easier than their big peers who are busy looking for huge revenues from huge services."8

The social network created by Internet virally spreads information extremely quickly among their participants. This may be because participatory forms attract "mavens" and "connectors." These types of individuals, whom Malcolm Gladwell identified in his book The Tipping Point, are crucial to the spread of information, online and off. 9

Mavens are information brokers, sharing and trading what they know. They are aggressive collectors of information but are socially motivated to share it as well. Connectors are people who know a lot of people in diverse settings. They have their feet in many different worlds and are socially motivated to bring them together.

Participatory forms offer an excellent outlet for mavens to satisfy their need to share and acquire information, and provides connectors the ability to help information seekers find mavens. (It also provides the opportunity to position themselves as an authority on a subject.)10

In a foreword to Seth Godin's book on marketing, Unleashing the Ideavirus, Gladwell explains the potential power of what's happening in participatory forms: "(The) most successful ideas are those that spread and grow because of the customer's relationship to other customers — not the marketer's to the customer." Later in the book, Godin adds: "The future belongs to marketers who establish a foundation and process where interested people can market to each other. Ignite consumer networks and then get out of the way and let them talk."11

To entertain and be entertained.
Just about anything will suffice as entertainment, as long as it can serve as a distraction from the day-to-day grind. To get people to pay for this diversion, it usually must be compelling or "fun." And there are seemingly no limits to what we will pay for fun.

But, as anyone in the entertainment business will testify, fun can be one of the most difficult experiences to satisfy. What seems to resonate with an audience of thousands one month falls into relative obscurity the next month. Factors such as novelty, trend and cultural status weigh heavily in the success of entertainment. The result is a large target that is hard to hit.12

According to the authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto, the Web is not a natural vehicle for prepackaged entertainment. "Unlike the lockstep conformity imposed by television, advertising and corporate propaganda, the Net has given new legitimacy — and freedom — to play. Many of those drawn into this world find themselves exploring a freedom never before imagined: to indulge their curiosity, to debate, to disagree, to laugh at themselves, to compare visions, to learn, to create new art, new knowledge."13

Online participation is simply fun — whether a political riff by a deeply committed weblogger, a casual forum discussion, or a one-off album review posted on Amazon. As futurist Paul Saffo notes, "In the end, much of what passes for communications actually has a high entertainment component. The most powerful hybrid of communications and entertainment is 'particitainment' — entertaining communications that connects us with some larger purpose or enterprise."14

To create.
Those who participate online usually create content to inform and entertain others. But creating also builds self-esteem and, in Maslow's view, it's an act of self-actualization. We derive fulfillment from the act of creation.

"Five percent of the populace (probably even less) can create. The others watch, listen, read, consume," says Marc Canter, one of the founders of Macromedia and now chairman and founder of Broadband Mechanics. "I think one of the destinies of digital technology is to enable the other 95 percent to express their creativity somehow. That's the gestalt view."

"Digital cameras, storytelling, assembling stuff from existing content, annotating, reviews, conversations, linking topics together — are all forms of creativity," Canter says. "(Weblogging is) at the core of creativity — expressing your feelings, opinions and showing everyone else what you think is important."15

Traditional media tend to understate the value of participation journalism, holding that comments, reviews and content created by "amateurs" provide little value to their mass audience. As such, they are missing the inherent psychological value of the creative process to the individual.

For the most part, our list contains motivations that are positive or fairly benign. An egalitarian/for-the-common-good ethic tends to permeate most of these forms. Yet, anyone that has participated in online communities knows that not all participants play fairly. People will abuse these forms by performing pranks, manipulating the rules, spreading false information and rumors, engaging in flaming — indeed, just about any mischief imaginable — and the results can serious.

According to a CNET article in 1996, "Several stocks have seen meteoric rises, or dramatic falls, in their valuation because of information posted to Internet newsgroups and online services. The Securities and Exchange Commission and other federal regulatory agencies are concerned that unscrupulous insiders or stock promoters could disseminate false or misleading information to manipulate securities prices."16

Regulatory agencies have policed Internet postings aimed at manipulating stock prices, but they need to tread carefully lest they infringe on free speech rights. Conflict is a key component of any social environment, from a party to a chat room, so we have learned to develop rules designed to guide the experience in a positive direction.

"Social interaction creates tension between the individual and the group," explains Clay Shirky, a consultant and teacher who writes frequently on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies.

"This is true of all social interaction, not just online. Any system that supports groups addresses this tension by enacting a simple constitution — a set of rules governing the relationship between individuals and the groups. These constitutions usually work by encouraging or requiring certain kinds of interaction, and discouraging or forbidding others."17

Rules governing participation

In broadcast models, the rules of participation are strict and limited. The media organization has supreme control as the informed intermediary of the news and it only allows the audience to participate through limited means, e.g., submitting letters to the editor or phoning a talk show. Mainstream media are comfortable with this level of participation because it's relatively easy to authenticate the credibility of these participants (though occasional pranks do occur).

Because not all participatory journalism is collaborative, We Media can follow the same model as broadcast models. For example, reviews are submitted by the audience to a product recommendation site, authenticated by editors, and broadcast out to a mass audience. Likewise, many webloggers have little interaction or open discussion with their audience. It's simply push media.

But collaborative forms of participatory journalism — forums, newsgroups, chat rooms, group weblogs and publishing systems — are more complex because they must balance the tension between the group and the individual. Even more challenging are the dynamically forming groups that come together briefly to achieve goals through Internet-connected mobile devices (dubbed "smart mobs" by Rheingold).

In the past few decades, the Internet has become highly successful in giving the consumer a voice, but author Stephen Johnson says "... systems like Slashdot force us to accept a more radical proposition. To understand how these new media experiences work, you have to analyze the message, the medium and the rules. What's interesting here is not just the medium, but rather the rules that govern what gets selected and what doesn't."18

When we talk about rules, we really are describing control — the governance of how participants assume roles, how they are allowed to interact with others, and the ownership of the social system.

The rules of participation come from a few places. First, they come from technology — rules that are built into the social software that runs the community or participatory form. These rules are then configured by the host (whoever creates the environment). A basic rule of most systems, for example, is that you have to become a registered member to participate. A host would define whether registration is necessary and the criteria that a registrant must meet.

Second, rules come from the community of members. This can come from moderators — appointed community members who police the ebb and flow of communication based on the established rules of the environment. For example, in chat rooms or discussion forums, it's common to have a moderator that disciplines or kicks out users who are behaving improperly.

Even those who are not appointed as moderators will police the activity of the system. Much as in any social situation, individuals draw boundaries about what's appropriate and what's not. As the community grows and evolves, members push back against the rules of the host to the point where the system becomes co-owned and operated. In this regard, many of these environments are highly democratic in the way they operate.

Various technologies have evolved over the past 40 years to enable us to establish rules, monitor behavior and to tune out the unwanted voices. As online community expert Rheingold says, "Hiding the crap is the easy part. The real achievement is finding quality."19

To increase the signal-to-noise ratio of online communities, emerging technologies called "reputation systems" are helping participants define which information is credible, reliable and trustworthy.

Reputation systems and trust metrics

Traditional models of trust between buyers and sellers fell short of requirements for an online marketplace, where anonymous transactions crossed territorial and legal boundaries as well as traditional value chains. Alternative quantifications of trust were developed for ecommerce, called "reputation systems" or "trust metrics," to ensure better evaluations of risk.

On eBay, for example, auction buyers evaluate sellers, rating their transaction experience and adding comments. The cumulative ranking of past buyers creates a track record of trust that new buyers often reference. This also works in the other direction, where sellers can rate buyers, creating a full-circle reputation system.

"A reputation system collects, distributes, and aggregates feedback about participants' past behavior," according to a paper by a group of University of Michigan researchers. "Though few of the producers or consumers of the ratings know each other, these systems help people decide whom to trust, encourage trustworthy behavior, and deter participation by those who are unskilled or dishonest."20

When it comes to the exchange of news and information, the challenge of reputation systems is equally complex to that of ecommerce. In traditional broadcast models, trust is built top down. News and information is gathered and disseminated by trained professionals that use rigorous methods of verification to ensure that the information is reliable and trustworthy. The media institution develops a certain level of credibility based on the success of this process.

From the consumer's perspective, it's easy to place trust in an established institution such as The Wall Street Journal or even MTV, but how does the audience learn to trust a stranger (or group of strangers), to evaluate the information they are providing, and to collaborate with them?

In participatory forms, trust is built from the bottom up. An anonymous individual enters the environment with no reputation and must gain the trust of others through their behavior and through the information they provide. Through the ranking and rating of content and of content creators, several successful online communities have used reputation systems to help maintain quality discussions and content.

One of the most well-known success stories of reputation systems is Slashdot.org,21 an online technology discussion community. Slashdot has three mechanisms for creating and distributing trust. First, all posts to the site are policed by moderators, who are members in good standing. Second, moderators are monitored by meta-moderators to ensure that moderators do not wield too much control. The last ingredient is karma, a way for members to gain recognition for contributions and appropriate behavior. "These three political concepts," says Shirky, "lightweight as they are, allow Slashdot to grow without becoming unusable."22

Reputation systems help track the activity of a community and use criteria to determine appropriate roles for members, based on their level of acceptance within the community. Reputation systems also help members identify self-interested parties that are trying to disrupt the community's goal of the greater good.

According to the creators of Kaitiaki.org, a community site in New Zealand, reputation systems "have the potential to solve the problems of controlling access while preventing gate-keeping or 'capture' of the web site by outsiders. They serve as a filter so that the most valued members of the community are given prominence, while less valued members have a chance to prove themselves before they are given the 'limelight' [enhanced reputation and special privileges]. In this way, the site can avoid spam (unsolicited advertising), abusive discussions and other bad behaviour that plagues some discussion group systems."23

Other online communities have reputations systems that try to capture the somewhat transitive nature of trust. The products recommendation site Epinions uses a "web of trust" to mimic the way people share word-of-mouth advice. Their reputation system is based on the premise, "If a friend consistently gives you good advice, you're likely to believe that person's suggestions in the future. You know which preferences you and your friend share. If you both like the same types of films, you're more likely to trust your friend's recommendations on what to see.24

Such collaborative filtering systems, pioneered by Firefly (since purchased by Microsoft) in the mid-1990s, are now becoming commonplace, bringing the idea of reputation systems to a wide range of content sites, ranging from parental advice to purchases of home theater systems.

Distributed credibility

There are other ways to assess credibility of content. One of the most effective is through hyperlinks. Acting as a decentralized, distributed reputation system, links act as votes, citations and reference to relevant pages on the Web.

Google's PageRank search algorithm uses hyperlinks-as-votes as a method of relevance in the social network of the web. As they explain on their Web site, "PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves 'important' weigh more heavily and help to make other pages 'important.' "25

Weblogs use a similar system of hyperlinks as votes with something called "blogrolls." A blogroll is a list of links to a weblog author's favorite Web sites, usually sites that are related to the weblog's subject. So if a reader decides they like a certain weblog, they might check out its blogroll as well.
"Rampant cross-linkage isn't a new phenomenon. It's the basic mechanism by which academia has operated for centuries," says Joshua Allen on his weblog Better Living Through Software.

"Researchers judge the value of published research based upon the number of other works that cite it. Citations in scientific research form 'clusters' of cross-linkage that would suggest citation reciprocity. Groups of people tend to cite one another. Besides reciprocity, there are certainly other reasons that researchers can end up getting sucked into citation clusters. A milder form of reciprocity is mutual admiration. If Dr. Wang cites Dr. Miller five times, Dr. Miller will start to think that Dr. Wang has good judgment."26

Credible by nature

There are several other qualities of these new online participatory experiences that can breed trust and credibility:

Egalitarian: Collaborative publishing systems like Wiki use open editing rules and version history to promote trust. Because any reader of a Wiki can add their own views or information to a Wiki article, they begin to trust the environment and the collective goal of the common good.

"We assume that the world is mostly full of reasonable people," say the creators of Wikipedia, a multi-lingual open-content encyclopedia, "and that collectively they can arrive eventually at a reasonable conclusion, despite the worst efforts of a very few wreckers."27

Intimacy: Authenticity comes from the personal nature of discussions in a participatory form. One powerful draw of weblogs and forums is their ability to capture and share first-hand accounts, such as 9/11 terrorists attacks. The University of Arizona's Golgoff explains, "When people share intimate details of their lives with a virtual stranger, it affirms that an implicit context of trust has been established."28

Passion: According to Time magazine columnist James Poniewozik, the problem with mainstream media today is a passion deficit. "Many big-media journalists are now cautious, well-paid conformists distant from their audiences and more responsive to urban élites, powerful people and megacorporations — especially the ones they work for."29 The result, he says, is bland news anchors, magazines that more closely resemble catalogs, timid pack journalism, and celebrity/cult-of-personality coverage overload.

On the flip side of the new media ecosystem, online participatory journalism is fueled by people who fanatically follow and passionately discuss their favorite subjects. Their weblogs and online communities, while perhaps not as professionally produced, are chock full of style, voice and attitude. Passion makes the experience not only compelling and memorable but also credible.

"Maybe the biggest, if vaguest, lesson to learn (from weblogs)," explains L.A. Examiner.com publisher Matt Welch, "is that people value personalities, especially those who will admit being wrong, show humility and class with readers. ... Newspapers have gotten away from the personality business, and this is where the weblogs are just hammering them."30

Speed of communication: According to Harvard University professor Karen Stephenson, an influential social network theorist, one easy way to improve the level of trust is simply to increase the speed with which people respond to our communication.

When people return our e-mails or respond to questions in forums quickly, it sends a signal that we can rely on them because our connection, however distant, is important enough to claim some of their attention. Compare the experience of leaving a voice-mail message with tech support that gets a response days later to a real-time chat session or user-to-user discussion forums. The faster a satisfactory answer comes, the more likely we are to trust a person or organization. "Human beings always keep an internal accounting system of who owes what to whom," says Steve Haeckel, director of strategic studies at IBM's Advanced Business Institute. "Response time is one indicator of the degree of trustworthiness of the individual."31

Free market of media: There are three basic rules of behavior that are tied directly to the intrinsic nature of the Internet, according to Doc Searls and David Weinberger: "No one owns it. Everyone can use it. Anyone can improve it."32

Likewise, there is practically no barrier to participatory journalism. Just about anyone can start a discussion forum or weblog for relatively little or no money, or participate for free in most public participatory environments. "This is a medium that by definition encourages readers to establish competing media," says publisher Welch. "That's awesome and wonderful."33

When the audience owns the medium, and owns the power to equitably compete in the same space, the medium and its forms carry a level of trust not found in any other media to date.

Challenges of trust

Reputations systems are by no means perfect. One problem with online reputation is the lack of portability of virtual identities (and reputations) between systems. For example, if you build a positive seller or buyer reputation on eBay or Slashdot, it cannot be transferred to other virtual environments. (eBay has sued some who have tried to do so.) It's great for the host of the community, such as eBay — some speculate that this aggregation of social capital is the key to their success — but for the individual and for social networks, it's a serious problem. It creates islands of reputation, which are time-consuming to earn.

The issue of identity ownership may be why weblogs cause such a powerful fuss. The participant owns and controls their identity, without the requirement to be known by a different eight-character name (e.g., bluskyz7) in each system.

"Because a person has control over his own piece of the community landscape (with a weblog), he feels a powerful ownership of his space that's lacking in traditional community sites," says Derek Powazek, author of Design for Community. "(Weblogging) tools are exciting because they point to the future of online community — a future where everyone has a home of his own, a space where he has control, a private space in an ever-more complicated virtual community sphere."34

From the reader's perspective, this also adds a level of credibility to webloggers because bloggers typically use their real-world identity in their virtual space.

Another challenge facing reputation systems is capturing feedback. Some people may not bother to provide feedback at all, seeing little or no value in the process. Negative feedback is difficult to elicit, because people fear the retaliation it could bring. The honesty of feedback is questionable, because, just as in the real world, we sometimes give compliments in order to received them.35

"Further complicating all of this," says Shirky, "are the feedback loops created when a group changes its behavior in response to changes in (social) software."36

Despite their theoretical and practical difficulties, reputations systems appear to perform reasonably well, says a team of University of Michigan researchers. "Systems that rely on the participation of large numbers of individuals accumulate trust simply by operating effectively over time."37

The success of We Media thus far has been built on the evolution of reputations systems, trust metrics and the politics of social software. As the technology improves, facilitating better social connections, the future role of the mainstream media in this new media ecosystem comes into question.

Can the audience, informed and independent, provide news with meaning, context and credibility beyond the capabilities of a professional press? Are traditional media companies capable of growing and nurturing a community? Will reporters and editors lurk in communities for tips and grassroots reporting or will they become active co-equal participants in online communities, fully engaged in the conversation?

In the next chapter, Implications of We Media, we explore the potential impact of participation journalism on mainstream media and its relationship with advertisers, sources and the audience.

1. Amy Jo Kim, Community Building on the Web: Secret Strategies for Successful Online Communities, (Peachpit, 2000), 8-9.
2. Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution, (Perseus Publishing, 2002), 119.
3. Author interview with John Hiler, co-founder of Xanga.com, one of the largest weblog community sites and co-founder of WebCrimson, a software consulting firm based in Manhattan (2002). Also see: "An unlikely new source of writing talent: Blogs" by Maureen Ryan, Chicago Tribune. October 8, 2003.
4. One example: Mark Siegel, who has spinal muscular atrophy, has an excellent weblog.
5. Stuart Golgoff, "Virtual Connections: Community Bonding on the Net," published on FirstMonday.org (March 2001).
6. Pew Internet & American Life Project. Online Communities: Networks that nurture long-distance relationships and local ties, Oct. 31, 2001.
7. Pew Internet & American Life Project.
8. Steven Carlson, "Henry Copeland: We are infatuated by revolutions," published on author's Web site TheDigitalEntrepreneur.com (2002).
9. Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (Little, Brown and Company, 2000), 62.
10. John Hiler goes into great detail about how Mavens and Connectors provide value in the weblogging community in his article, "The Tipping Blog: How Weblogs Can Turn an Idea into an Epidemic." He also connects the ideas of Gladwell and Godin. Published on his weblog, Microcontent News (March 12, 2002).
11. Seth Godin, Unleashing the Ideavirus (Hyperion, 2001). Full text of the book can be downloaded on IdeaVirus.com.
12. Paul Saffo, "Consumers and Interactive New Media: A Hierarchy of Desires," from the 1993 Ten-Year Forecast, Institute for the Future (c. December 1992).
13. Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, David Weinberger, The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual (Perseus Publishing, 2001). The book is also available online.
14. Saffo.
15. Jonathan Peterson, "A Conversation with Marc Canter," published on the author’s Corante.com weblog, Amateur Hour: the "me" in media (Feb. 17, 2003).
16. Mike Ricciuti, "SEC fears stock manipulation online," (CNET.com. June 12, 1996).
17. Clay Shirky, "Social Software and the Politics of Groups," First published March 6, 2003 on the Networks, Economics, and Culture mailing list.
18. Steven Johnson, Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software (Scribner, 2001).
19. Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution (Perseus Publishing, 2002), 119.
20. Paul Resnick, Richard Zeckhauser, Eric Friedman and Ko Kuwabara, "Reputation Systems: Facilitating Trust in Internet Interactions," (PDF) University of Michigan (October 2000).
Also see: The University of Michigan’s "Reputations Research Network" database of articles and papers about this subject.
21. A deeper explanation of Slashdot's system.
22. Clay Shirky, "Social Software and the Politics of Groups," first published March 6, 2003 on the Networks, Economics, and Culture mailing list.
23. Susan Forbes, Murray Hemi, Greg Ford, Joan Ropiha. "Web Site Design Document" describes how the Kaitiaki.org community site operates.http://www.kaitiaki.org.nz/matou/web-des.shtml
24. Epinions.com FAQ – Web of Trust.
25. "Google Technology" on Google.com.
26. Joshua Allen. From a post titled "Interlinktual" on his weblog, Better Living Through Software, Jan. 4, 2002.
27. Published on Wikipedia.org, "Wikipedia: Replies to common objections."
28. Golgoff.
29. James Poniewozik, "Don’t Blame It on Jayson Blair," (Time magazine, June 9, 2003), 90.
30. EPN World Reporter.com interview with Matt Welch, "The Welch Report – Go Publish Yourself," April 23, 2002.
31. Art Kleiner, "Karen Stephenson’s Quantum Theory of Trust," (registration required) strategy+business magazine, Fourth Quarter, 2002.
32. Doc Searls and David Weinberger, "World of Ends: What the Internet Is and How to Stop Mistaking It for Something Else," published online, March 2003.
33. EPN World Reporter.
34. Derek Powazek, Design for Community: The Art of Connecting Real People in Virtual Places (New Riders Publishing, 2001), 267.
35. Paul Resnick, Richard Zeckhauser, Eric Friedman and Ko Kuwabara, "Reputation Systems: Facilitating Trust in Internet Interactions," (PDF) University of Michigan (October 2000).
36. Clay Shirky, "Social Software and the Politics of Groups," first published March 6, 2003 on the Networks, Economics, and Culture mailing list.
37. Resnick, et al.

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