Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The problem of scale

Clay Shirky describes the problems of scale; when you have 20 emails a day, its no problem, quadruple this and its getting difficult, ten fold and there's a serious problem because bigger is not just about more, it's different.
Think about it; a two km walk every day is pleasant, a two km walk faster, to fit in 10 two km walks a day isn't.

Youthline (NZ) has had a 1280 percent increase in its text messaging in the last year.
Rapid learning curve; its not the same when it's faster.

Shirky cites Merlin Mann regarding the foibles of email, and I think the similarities here carry a portend of doom;
"Email is such a funny thing. People hand you these single little messages that are no heavier than a river pebble. But it doesn't take long until you have acquired a pile of pebbles that's taller than you and heavier than you could ever hope to move, even if you wanted to do it over a few dozen trips. But for the person who took the time to hand you their pebble, it seems outrageous that you can't handle that one tiny thing. "What pile? It's just a pebble!"

The ability to create conversational opportunity seemingly effortlessly seemingly creates its own capacity for failure as a means of conversing; it works up until the point that it cannot, that it becomes pointless.

The limiting effects of scale; the limits of human cognition will mean that scale alone will kill conversation.
Need to create a way of managing the scale; how to hold the conversations?

No comments:

Post a Comment