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Study of the Internets/People/Markets

RhinoRhino TheRhinLOLRegistered User regular
edited November 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
This is a serious question, but is there a study or subject on how the 'internets' work. I'm not talking technical knowledge like the wires; but talking intelligence and effectivenesses of all involved.

For example, let's take all the device "hacks and unlocks". Look at the iPhone or xBox; soon as they are released - within hours they are unlocked, hacked and "learned about" - collectively, decentralized and unorganized.

No one says "Hey guys, let's all organize our efforts collectively and in a centralized hierarchically manner to run pong on my iPhone"; but instead it just kind of "happens".

The efficiency of how all this 'new' information spreads is amazing.

Or look at just knowledge and information in general on the internets... sure wiki is "centralized", but there are a lot of other sites and projects (MIT open course ware, project gutenburg, etc) that collectively have vast stores of information.

So I guess what I want to study is how "random people" posting "random shit" on the internet can create a highly efficient way of spreading (and applying) knowledge and information.

Is there a formal study on this? I'm sure if I can find a name for it then I can find tons of information about it on the interwebs ;)

Also I would like to find out how it compares to 'normal' media. Does news spread faster or slower on the internet versus television and newspaper? Is it just as reliable or is it plagued with 'ill fact checking'... What about signal to noise ratio? No one likes getting Goatcxed while doing research on how to knit a sweater.

Rhino on


  • wrong_buttonwrong_button Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Your questions cover a lot of bases.
    For you last question - at least in terms of media/reliability/usage, the Pew Internet & American Life Project ( may have a report or two of value to you. If you're interested in doing your own study, you can also get their datasets for use as well.

    wrong_button on
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