May 03, 2006

The Distribution of the Future, or, Why I Don't Need BoingBoing As Much Anymore

William Gibson is said to have written, "The future's already here, it's just not evenly distributed yet."

In terms of the future of information -- at least when I personally become aware of a piece of information -- I'm finding more and more that information is reaching me sooner than it used to -- and I'm then turning around and disseminating it faster than the sites that I used to originally get the info from even know about it yet! (Whew, try to diagram that sentence, I dare you.)

For instance, on Feb 5, 2006, I was one of the first people to blog about Chris Bliss and his infamous juggling act (accompanied by music from The Beatles' Abbey Road album). Waxy blogged about it on a month later. BoingBoing picked up on it even later. A week or two ago I saw it on TV.... interesting how that's been propagating in ever-wider waves. But to me it's already at least 10 web-years old.

Same thing happened with the recent San Diego mystery boom (blogged about here, here, and here). San Diego bloggers were, naturally, the first to write about it. Much later it shows up on BoingBoing and for me it's like, eh, whatever.

Today, BoingBoing mentions StarLords, a new video mashup of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. Bleh. Already knew about it. Not interesting. (And I don't think the video is that great, except for the part with the turning heads -- that is inspired.)

But it made me realize: MOST of what is on BoingBoing and Waxy's links anymore is stuff I have already heard about elsewhere. This is a very interesting shift.

What is causing it?

No question about it: it's my increased usage of Reddit, Digg, and, and in that order of importance. These sites are helping "distribute the future" far more than BoingBoing or the Waxy Links. (And what's nice, they do so without all the ugly obnoxious meaningless ads and self-promoting clutter that has so nascarized BoingBoing).

I still visit BoingBoing and Waxy Links but I am visiting them less frequently thanks to these other services.

I wonder how many other folks are doing the same?

Posted by brian at May 3, 2006 01:59 PM


Count me in as one of those people getting most of their links from Digg and Delicious. I pop by Reddit occasionally, but it's not a regular visit for me yet.

I've been meaning to write a blog post about this for a while. Ever since Populicious started intelligently filtering Delicious by recent popularity, I've felt this was clearly the future. The collective will almost always beat the individual, if the software is engineered in a way to surface that information well.

That said, there will always be a place for individuals to act as information moderators for things I'm most likely to be interested in. I'm very rarely breaking new links any more, though at least partially because of external circumstances. I've been spending more time at work and much less time scouring the web, so have been relying on my regular feeds instead of seeking out new stuff and doing more exploring. As always, my blog is just a reflection of my own interests and findings online. That anyone else finds it interesting is a happy side-effect.

The trick is finding those people with interests most like your own and most willing to expose their findings to the world, and then subscribing to their Delicious/Digg/blog feeds. Anyone want to work on that?

Posted by: Andy Baio at May 3, 2006 07:19 PM

What you describe is my story, too. And to speed it up even further, I'm now using PopURLs.

Soon we'll know about cool web site even before they get uploaded.

Posted by: Bernie Dodge at May 5, 2006 09:59 AM

Do you read TechCrunch, Bernie? That's already the case at many tech sites: you find out about upcoming sites before they launch.

Hey Brian, there's a problem with your spam filters. It would not take this post before because I used the words sezveral or 'wzay befzore' (remove the letter 'z' here and below) with the following error:

Your comment could not be submitted due to questionable content: sezvera

the same occurred for wzay b

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