Why do people *subscribe* to FoRK? (Was: Re: For Immediate Release: Avogadro/Ignition)

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From: Adam Rifkin (adam@KnowNow.com)
Date: Tue Oct 17 2000 - 02:02:48 PDT

Lovely spam, wonderful spam. Unfortunately, it's old bits: this was
sent to FoRK over 14 hours ago:


Of course, those of us keeping score at home know that the Avo's
had their money at least three months ago:


One wonders why the sudden media blitz sans a product launch...

There's a fine line between spam and news in some cases, and we're a big
fan of the phrase that "sufficiently targetted advertising *is*
content", so Derek and Kragen and Rohit are here at 1:30am and we're
getting philosophical on why people read FoRK, and whether the answer to
that question is different from why people *subscribe* to FoRK when you
could just poll the web page at http://www.xent.com/ from time to time.

Possible explanations:

   1. News. What Kragen calls the "Mutual Aid Society of Bits" among
      the posters here. In this kind of "from each according to
      ability" system, lurkers add no cost to the system, so with 30-40
      regular posters, what we have is roughly the equivalent of a
      weblog with submissions transmitted via email.

   2. Chat. Although chatting was frowned upon in the early days of
      FoRK, we really can't help it nowadays because we have become a
      community that is comfortable discussing stuff with (and, at
      times, baiting, trolling, and flaming) each other.

   3. Notifications. It's pushed to my mailbox, it's in my face,
      there's an etiquette of "I'm sending this out to the list and I
      don't give a flying FoRK how many people have to hit the delete
      key as a result of it." The in-your-face nature compels people to
      read-n-respond, read-n-delete, and/or let-em-stack-up-and-delete,
      but since new stuff regularly streams in you have to deal with it
      one way or another.

   4. Invitations. You can't just join, and you can't just leave.
      There's this extra layer of communication a person has to go
      through to enter or exit the list, kind of like buddy lists.

   5. Serendipity. FoRK is like a box of chocolates, you never know
      what you're gonna get. One minute there's a URL to a half-naked
      woman, the next minute we're in an academic discussion of what's
      empirically attractive.

   6. Remixing. Things are posted and crossposted and reposted, with or
      without comments, with or without weblinks, with or without
      clippings. Recommendations-as-content. This is the gist of
      Jakob Nielsen's piece, "Content Creation for Average People":


      Napster lets people swap content they didn't create, but a medium
          such as FoRK -- which is really a sort-of cross between email, IM,
          and the Web, -- let's people mix content they didn't create with
          content they did create. The act of forwarding information is in
          and of itself the act of creating new information.

Any others?


Our Backend is open. You can build applications on this content flow. -- http://backend.userland.com/

What's this about content flowing out of Dave's Open Backend? -- Rohit Khare, on seeing http://static.userland.com/images/llamas/respectdave.gif

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