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Clay Shirky’s Thoughts

I haven’t read Clay Shirky in a while. In the Music Industry and the Big Flip, Shirky writes

This is all part of the Big Flip in publishing generally, where the old notion of “filter, then publish” is giving way to “publish, then filter.” There is no need for Slashdot’s or Kuro5hin’s owners to sort the good posts from the bad in advance, no need for Blogdex or Daypop to pressure people not to post drivel, because lightweight filters applied after the fact work better at large scale than paying editors to enforce minimum quality in advance. A side-effect of the Big Flip is that the division between amateur and professional turns into a spectrum, giving us a world where unpaid writers are discussed side-by-side with New York Times columnists.

Shirky on micropayment systems:

In particular, users want predictable and simple pricing. Micropayments, meanwhile, waste the users’ mental effort in order to conserve cheap resources, by creating many tiny, unpredictable transactions. Micropayments thus create in the mind of the user both anxiety and confusion, characteristics that users have not heretofore been known to actively seek out.

Steven Johnson wrote a fascinating article on google’s shortcomings. He writes:

If you’re searching for something that can be sold online, Google’s top results skew very heavily toward stores, and away from general information.

. I can vouch for that. For the longest time, the number one search result for my own name was my Amazon reviewer page. Useful, yes, but ultimately not important.

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