Cuong on the long tail, and particularly notices Anderson’s comments about scarcity. This is something that the first and second lectures picked up on, where I pointed out that I came to university because of scarcity (library, films, experts, technologies) but that this scarcity is gone, so why come now? Same argument Anderson makes about going to the video store. Tony discusses the long tail, and is surprised at the mention of Kazaa, this just shows how quickly things change here, where we often measure an internet year as a dog year, so 1 year online = 7 years in the real world. Why? This reflects the pace of change and development online. Anita discusses the 80/20 rule and scale free networks, wondering if they are natural. They are, which is part of what these people demonstrate, our bodies, for example, turn out to be scale free networks with a power law distribution in terms of the number of proteins (which are out basic blocks) and how many of these different proteins are involved in how many reactions. A small number (crazy small) are involved in a heap. Nature, including us.
Lucy has comments on the 80/20 rule, and its relation to the Web where 80% of links point to 15% of pages. This is why linking matters, it is how you build and nurture the long tail (and that the tail is where immense niche value lies). Lucy also discusses the second reading noting how the web isn’t static, its structure changes over time, and that hubs and connectors are important attributes of these sorts of networks, which occur in nature and online. Prani discusses the long tail, though it isn’t so much about being niches as that niches become viable in dramatically different ways courtesy of power law distributions and the long tail. Lauren tackles power laws, awkwardly but the discussion is good (must be the science). Nga on the long tail, with links to two useful clips. Danielle on the long tail, recommendation systems, and supply and demand, Tamrin with more detail on retail, long tail and the marketplace. Rebecca S has a joyfully scattered meander about long tails with various swishes along the way, it’s an excellent read. And Lauren M has notes from Watts and networks and nodes. there are lots of questions in other posts about why. Hope we get a chance to colour that in.
Denham has notes from the long tail reading, pulling out some useful quotes and key points. He notes that this shows that the immaterial network has impacts on real things. (Absolutely, there is nothing immaterial about the internet when we get right down to it.) The idea of the long tail describes the structure of the Web, and the structure of a hypertext such as the academic essay I showed in the unsymposium.
Meanwhile Zoe curates a series of talks, presentations and graphics to sketch out the next two weeks of networked thinking. Jia Li discusses how the long tail provides a new business model. What is important here is how it more or less disrupts some models of retail business, as a simple example (it took all of about 4 years for the iTunes music store to become the world’s largest music retailer). Patrick wonders why there isn’t more of the physical media with attached cloud version, for the one price. Amazon have just announced this with books, buy a book and you get the electronic one too. A lot of music does this, though I think the more common model is to provide bonus material online…
Lina has a nice dot point summary of the points. The next step is to think about the significance of this, as it turns out that this is the characteristic of what are known as ‘scale free networks’ of which the web is one. Lina, again, who enjoyed the Watts’ reading, with more notes and comments. Arthur has some ramblings on the Watts reading too, and yes, socially we have strong and weak connections, and there are dense clusters which is how the world becomes small (the six degrees scenario).