From Blog to Cloud

In the keynote I conducted in Blogtalk 2009 at Jeju Island, Korea. I shared some personal experiences on blogging and the future ideas of cloud intelligence.  It’s quite an academic oriented meeting but with mixture ideas.

In my talks, I re-emphasized my radical understanding that all people are bloggers in some extent whether you are using blogging tools or not. We human being, inherently, are sharing animals. We share then we became social animals. We judge what we share to whom, then we have the credit system and reputation. Cooking culture, as professor Richard Wrangham suggested in his book “Catching Fire– How cooking makes up human“, enabled our society boosted ourselves in the past dozens of thousands of years. It dramatically changed the social structure and economical meanings.

Let’s move timeline back to 2002, the first year I started my blog in August then. It’s not so early to united states. However, it’s really very new to Chinese people. We counted about 1000 bloggers that year in China and I knew almost all of them via blog rolling. But just like I said to my first blog post on a group blogging I co-created after my personal blog. I said there must be millions of bloggers emerge in China. It became true after 2007, there’s now counting 40M bloggers and commercially boasting 200M.

So why people blog? It’s really pervasively interesting question but with millions of answers because nobody can really tell the real exact motivation to start their own blog and keep it as daily life. We can list some sounding reasons like these, someone says they blog because they just want to tell people their “cute cat”. Some anonymous blogs said they want to reveal the truth the same time keep safe. To myself, I started my personal blog just for remembering what I learnt today and reflect if I really understand them. From this angle, blog is really something I looked for years to help my poor memory. The same time keep learning going pace by pace.

But let me argue the real reason behind all these specific reasons. Actually it’s a kind of anxiety because of information loss.I want to divide this reason into two parts: the problem and the solution. The real problem is the worriment from human being on information loss. We human beings are highly intelligent animals trying to seek truth from since several thousands of years ago, or even longer. However, we have to face the lack of information to prove truth. Somethings, once it happened, the information entropy will lose dramatically to prevent from reproduction again. Like in Archeology, even those lots of fossils can’t prove a single truth about the reason why dinosaurs extincted just in very short time. We can only leave them presumptions, maybe foreever; How about human history, it’s much closer than dinosaur age. However, by checking those limited archives and relics, we can only see little truth of our history, with a lot of mysteries still in big controversal, e.g. like how Hitler died. How about what’s happening today in our world. It’s much more possible with a lot of tools to capture news and happenings everyday via thousands of TV channels and newspapers. So what, we still don’t know the truth of the world. The speed of information loss is still much faster than we capture them by only those minority of reporters.

That’s why we need new paradigm. Blogging, and later more UGC(user generated content) formats, followed, just fit for this anxiety. People found sharing more information profactively can largely help solving the problems in current age the traditional journalism can’t. Grassroots publishing, then emerged into citizen journalism, can best complement the loss of information from traditional media and adjust it’s bias into a continuous validation cycle.

Sharism plays very important role behind UGC. Information loss challenges people a lot to push them to share, initially from only pioneers from different areas. But furtherly, shariing becomes a challenge on it’s sustainability. I would say that it’s my high attention observing why people like sharing all the time and eventually become part of their blood. There are four incentives behind it.

So we need better ways to present such flood of information. We found RSS and new aggregators naturally. But it’s not enough, it only resolves the view of information, but can’t see the real knowledge from those shared information.

People are greedy enough because they found aggregator is not enough. We need not only something contains all content, we need an elevation view of information from different sources. Its a new kind of intelligence just like the drops of water form the beautiful cloud. That’s why we need defragment, to try to reorganize information into large granularity but squeeze out those redundant and false informations. This can be done by social filtering systems, e.g. like social bookmarking system. E.g. in Google Reader, a single click of “Shift+S” can help you sharing your favorite stuffs to all you gmail contacts in the same sphere. It’s stunning change to the information structure even 5 years ago.

But we see more exiting things like the Green Revolution in Iran. It’s emergent because no any individuals can realize what could happen next minute. It’s a kind of new intelligence emerged from the connected individuals with their continous sharing behaviors not only on content but also on functions. I call it Cloud Intelligence because the beautifulness of cloud came from water drops, but much more splendid beyond any single water drops.

Cloud intelligence is the hope of solutions to our human problem, however, it’s yet to evolve and improving. Will Blog format like todays blogging tools mingling of good and evils? or will twitter the ending format of information sharing? I don’t think so. I believe cloud intelligence evolved from blogging the simple molecule, will be changed by a lot of new trends and innovations to be created.

I have 10 predictions about blogging that you can check from the slide. Maybe not all included, or maybe overlapped to each other. But I believe they are all significant signals to us. To either technical guys, entrepreneurs and users.

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