Monday, October 11, 2004

Rigging the Numbers Games

In last week's edition of Democracy Online Newswire, Steven Clifts sings the praises of http://Del.icio.us towards increasing progressive surfing capacity:
And just for something completely different? http://Del.icio.us is an online tool for keeping your favorite websites and bookmarks. I strongly recommend that people working on progressive change set up an account.

The site is easy to use. It allows anyone to set up an account for free. It encourages you to add a little link to your browser so that you can quickly add pointers to favorite web pages to your online account.

It is worth doing because it will ENABLE A COMMUNITY OF PEOPLE TO BUILD "SURFING" CAPACITY on an issue very quickly. Once you add a site to del.icio.us you can connect to the other people that added that site. You can see what sites they added to their Del.icio.us and you can subscribe to RSS to monitor when they add links to their account.

Once you play with it for a bit, you will start to realize the value of collaborative bookmarking is collaborative learning and accelerated
capture of expertise
.
Steven reminds me of two other traffic stimulus sites I've been exploring: StumbleUpon and BlogExplosion.

StumbleUpon is like the Google "I'm Feeling Lucky" button on smack. It allows you to browse random links, within parameters you set yourself, and rate them as you go; you can also add links to their system. You can also get an extension for Firefox (and presumably other browsers) to add their buttons to your toolbar for ease of use. The benefit: it can drive traffic to your site and the sites you care about. The problem: right now the majority of political sites I hit through it are RNC talking point-regurgitating troll homepages. Quel horreur! Seems simple that it behooves us to add our favorite progressive sites to help increase their exposure.

Likewise, BlogExplosion rewards websurfing by directing BlogExplosion traffic to a site of your choice. Note that this does not need to be a site that you administer yourself; i.e., there's nothing to stop BlogExplosion bombing by altruistic site-less surfers to direct traffic, say, to the Kerry Edwards homepage of the DNC page. The problem, again, is that the majority of political sites are actually offensive in their blinders-and-feed-bag-of-oats wearing RNC freeper willful ignorance.

I suspect many readers may be more interested in Del.icio.us than StumbleUpon or BlogExplosion, but let's compare the audiences they reach. As Steven Clift points out, Del.icio.us can increase accelerated expertiese through collaborative learning among progressive surfers. In plain speak, though, this is still preaching to the choir, but, it is a more efficient way of sharing the work of the many.

The technologically sophisticated among us will likely pooh pooh StumbleUpon and BlogExplosion as simply creating spam traffic. BUT...if we add progressive sites into their link system, we are reaching past the choir, and contacting a whole new audience. It's a numbers game: the more progressive sites in their, the greater the chance that a random reader will find a site they happen to connect with.

Innovation through recontextualization: don't re-invent the wheel. Hijack someone else's technology to accomplish progressive goals.

Games. Play to Win. Rig them. That's what I say.
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