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March 31, 2004



In my own mass-media experience, I'd say that the real best-fit with the web is radio, not tv or print. Radio is community-based and fluid, what you say today is gone tomorrow, and there's less sense of anal branding and property rights -- in radio, because the license grants you wide use of material, any song can be a commercial backing track, any interview can be played regardless of ambient noise; compare this with the legal fight over the billboards seen in Spiderman, or the innane battle Lawrence Lessig relates in the producers trying to obtain release rights for everyone involved in all Clint Eastwood films! On radio, especially AM community-focus radio, you just assume your listeners are all friends, not foreign lawyers, and you therefore sometimes do things that are not, to the letter of the law, totally legal.

Internet in the small, such as the relative low-traffic blogs, is very much the same ideal, a fraternity of like-minds where there's a certain safety, an unspoken trust. When TV or newspaper-chains (which are all national or international) go online, their first stumbling block is performance/broadcast copyright issues, and from there it just gets worse.

By the way, thanks for the kinds words about my aggregator :) ... my original intention had been two-fold: First, when I built that aggregator, few of my collegues could use RSS and needed some place to read the collected works of the knowledgeboard and other blogger groups, and my own 8-year history reading RSS leads me to believe that microcontent aggregation is the only viable, sustainable surfing strategy; there are just too many pages that change too infrequently to visit and sift each one, but on an integrating aggregator, it's easy.

This is one reason I am so surprised that so few "newsreaders" integrate feeds; even Yahoo! places one blog after the other, 90% wasted space when only one post in 10 is new.

My other reason is rooted in my belief that the web is a self-annealing semantic web. There's no need to graft associative relations because these relations will emerge from the cross-postings. Thus, when I include you in an integrating surfer's short-cut page, not only do I bring you the world in a snapshot, but I also implicitly add some semantic meaning to your post by alluding to its association to all the others integrated in the same feed, the same page or even on the same website. Rather than grafting in meta-data that will only see spam anyway, I belief the future semantic analist search engines will simply build on the empirical associations implicit in the actual structure of the information.

But it's nice to know you don't object :) ... which is more than I can say for one or two other sites who don't grasp how their semantically linked-in images are really targetted contextually-illuminated free banner ads ...


Oh, also, I think it's worth noting: I have had three people tell me that they met new friends because my integrating their feeds -- In one most notable case, I would never have thought to introduce them because of a shared passion for a particular philosopher I didn't even know, but when they both blogged about some news relating to the same topic, they met up and became fast friends.

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