on webrings, warchalking and semantic web [part 1 of undigested convos]

[I’m copypasting from emails and memory, I haven’t really decided anything concrete yet but it feels important]

– on webrings-

R: Totally!! actually you know what I miss most? The idea of webrings! when you can link pages and pages and pages of seperate domains and websites together based on theme, and by clicking the “next” button move to a different page without going through links, and having a random function to bring you to a random page on the ring but still similar thematically – that was so awesome *__*

J: Oo yes, web rings are a fantastic concept, like warchalking, that has been lost to time. Internet dérives and getting lost in a webring of random pages has been replaced by the efficiency of search engines 😦 Everything is contained in search bubbles / is homogenized. There’s little randomness or ability to break out of your content bubble anymore, sigh.  Which is why i constantly move to other web communities, I can’t stand tired memes and circle jerking.

R: Yea!! actually I kinda wonder if that system could be reformatted and applied to “new” web, to open “closed” platforms – like linking tumblr communities with livejournal communities etc etc so it becomes less fragmented cos people keep migrating and opening new accounts everywhere (which is really annoying) I really hate circlejerk and tripfagging too – I wonder if the whole fame-whoring started with fragmentation, cos there’s no way to condense yourself into one community (even within the same interest) but multiples or repeats of the communities i.e. a noodle tumblr + noodle livejournal + facebook like page for noodles + noodle twitter….. and what used to be social capital that you could build up becomes totally dispersed, there is zero transference or zero history.

J: ooo wow!! that is actually really cool, like opening portals to other web communities :0 isn’t that part of what the semantic “web 3.0” promises…? heh uhh web 3.0 :p but making relevant bridges between tumblr and livejournal, etc., creating “links” (via browser plugin?) [e.g. *someone on ___this other site___ created the same discussion topic*] could be interesting. search bubbles scare me in the same way that Microsoft patenting a map navigation feature to “avoid the ghetto” does!

yes!! that’s quite interesting that social capital has become distributed / fragmented. there’s no universal “leader board” to rank yourself against. people have to keep abandoning past online identities. that’s sort of what Klout is trying to do by assigning a numbered score, but uh, that is so gross and extrinsic D: there’s hardly any meaningful feedback about ones online life / influence.  i wanted to make an art project at some point that melds all my scattered online identities together on various communication platforms over the years. the language/acronyms/in-jokes used by each community that I’ve fallen into.

R: but if it’s only searching for relevant bridges, there won’t be the random site-jump factor which is a big part of webrings. yeah I use a lot of search engines, but the bubbling is crazy – remember when facebook started to clean up people’s feed selectively? that was pretty crazy.

last time there was Technorati, nowadays ranking is done by Alexa I think but yea it isn’t a good judge of actual social capital like BNFs and stuff since very little is really checked up on long-tail communities. i think Klout is pretty silly – keep getting requests to join, but half the fun of internets is the ability to move seamlessly from community to community and start all over again. i think that’s why tumblr is so popular actually, the reblog system for links and images is an auto “highfive!” and shows how many people got influenced or read it. the problem is the lack of control for info

J: yeah, random jumping is good, sometimes categorical randomness is better, like jumping between pages on similar/related topics. i can’t imagine how many porn sites outnumber anything else on the internet/how often you could land on one in a truly random internet jump. eek yeah, i was really hating on facebook when they were cleaning up feeds, glad they’ve gotten their act together somewhat. i really wish you could search on youtube for videos with the least page views, i love discovering bizarre outtakes from random people’s lives on there that they accidentally uploaded from their phone.

uhh Klout is trying to create an environment of perpetual anxiety of one’s comparative online life by assigning arbitrary rank…something really bugs me about this…along with limiting the ability to move seamlessly between identities, a culture of only following/reblogging/liking/responding or whatever to those with equal or higher Klout could occur, creating a bizarre classist internet society o_O

R: mmm yeah, webrings are more categorical random isn’t it? my fave crappy webring was this photography based one – it was photography alright, but some of them were just sooooooooo ridiculous lol like the webpage dedicated to pictures of household toilets.  actually you can for youtube – just hit advanced search, the default is “more relevant to least relevant” but you can swap it so the least relevant ones go on top. Same for page views. Sometimes if you just randomly search for shit you can get really weird videos like this old grandpa doing a How-To video on “drilling holes through thin mirrors” LOL that tutorial was actually useful though, I’ve actually watched it a bunch of times

probably cos instead of trying to produce things, it’s basically another version of popularity contest + facebook’s “gotta-catch’em all” friend mentality about perceived popularity. but the internet has always been built on class – not classicism as we usually think of it, but the idea of karma economy – that people did shit for free i.e. subbing, ripping, seeding etc because of the “feel good” you get from a community…. that feel good translates to a kind of social capital, but it’s still different because it’s not a translatable social capital i.e. the prestige of being a doctor carries you across areas of society, but the social capital produced within a microcommunity is limited by the scope of interest i.e being a BNF of sherlock will not give shit about a BNF from say, star trek


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