Flocks, Herds, and Stories temporal coherence and the long tail

author: Mark Bernstein, Eastgate Systems, Inc.
published: July 19, 2011,   recorded: June 2011,   views: 4221

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The slideshow is available at http://www.markbernstein.org/websci11/.

New media offer an unprecedented opportunity to revise our literary economy. One crucial anxiety is that we be able to find (and to publish) good work of local or specific importance, since much human knowledge is not popular. Small, low-traffic sites are thus of considerable interest to the health of the Web, though individually these sites possess small economic leverage. The challenge these sites face is increased by the noisiness of web traffic; herds, flocks, and cadres of narrative-driven fans can all increase traffic one day and eliminate it another. For large sites, this poses no problem, but for smaller sites this granularity, combined with the zero lower bound, can have catastrophic consequences both for individual publications and for the overall shape of the Web.

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