Posts Tagged Social

F***Book – the network bites back.

So there is this guy who sells your private information to corporations. Big time. Does he go to jail? Nope, of course the Sucker gets a mountain (german: Berg) of money and is named man of the year on top. Now there are some other guys, some even lesser known than others, who contribute to your freedom of opinion / speech / information and fight against corporate rule / oppressive regimes. They are not going to be rich, probably, but they might be going to jail. Hey, that’s post-modern justice. As happy as I am not to have ever fallen into the f***book trap, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for myself to get smug about it – the nagging thought remains: who or what assures me that other social networks I do trust a bit more (at the moment) will not proceed along similar lines at some point in the future? Maybe it will be our Politicians and the Data Protection Laws? Maybe if enough people pulled out of f***book (it might take a few clicks) it would set an example… In the end, both are very entertaining and almost equally naive thoughts, aren’t they!? Still feeling idealistic nevertheless, go on then …

Here is the visualisation of the (very real) case of Max Schrems who insisted to get access to ALL the information stored on him, published by the tageszeitung in collaboration with OpenDataCity and

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Nostalgia just isn’t what it used to be

To add to the category “yesterday’s views of tomorrow” – this “vision” from 1969 is in some aspects coming scarily close to what we call the ‘internet’ now:

Contrast this (rather narrow) “shopping/house/kids/surveillance/car/bills&taxes” outlook on the essentials of life with this view on the “computer network called ‘internet'” from 1993 Read the rest of this entry »

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A documentary on network-theory

As I met Marc Vidal personally, this is just about one-degree of separation for me 😉 – Enjoy!

(found via Barabasi lab, thanks to Henning Stehr for hints)

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Mapping the linked planet

Visualizing Friendships

Just to put things into perspective: I am not a fan of facebook, and I never had an account there. But I like maps, especially strange maps. They always convey a certain bias view of the world, an idea or ideology. So this one done by Paul Butler during his internship at Facebook Engenineerings has become one of my favourites, obviously due to the network-based view of the planet (here is how he did it, a high-resolution version of the map is available here). It’s remarkably similar to the view of the world at night. If you have a closer look, not only continents but several geographical and political influences shaping “our” world become visible. For example, the empty space in the amazonian area and the sahara, or the river nile and its’ delta in egypt. What struck me that except for a few coastal cities (like Hong Kong, presumably) China seems to be absent from this map. Also the former “iron curtain” separating east and west germany is still visible, with Berlin forming an island – so much about the progress of re-unification 2 decades later on.

There is probably a lot more to discover by comparing what you’d expect to what you see – Enjoy! (found via

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Linking Information & Architecture

“dead drops” is a project initiated by the (ex. NY, now Berlin-based) artist Aram Bartholl:

“Un-cloud your files in cement!”

‘Dead Drops’ is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space. USB flash drives are embedded into walls, buildings and curbs accessable to anybody in public space. Everyone is invited to drop or find files on a dead drop. Plug your laptop to a wall, house or pole to share your favorite files and data. Each dead drop is installed empty except a readme.txt file explaining the project. ‘Dead Drops’ is open to participation. If you want to install a dead drop in your city/neighborhood follow the ‘how to’ instructions and submit the location and pictures.

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statistical analphabetism

As Gerd Gigerenzer put it: “statistically, we are all analphabets“. Not meaning that by some statistical measure it turns out that every one suddenly lost the ability to read or write, but rather that our brains are not wired to deal with risk and probability in a more rigorous statistical way. The case is also made by other scientists and statisticians, for example Peter Donnelly or by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Now here is a related, sharp-tonged satirical view by Volker Pispers: What are we afraid of ?

Volker Pispers – Wovor haben Sie Angst? – english subtitles from Jo Do on Vimeo.

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Swarm Intelligence

- revisited?

There are no simple answers – network phenomena and emergent behaviour are notoriously difficult to grasp, especially not by simple graph-measures (like equalling mere node-degree with importance). The conditions under which the many outwit the few -aeeh- experts seem to be rather fragile. That social networks have an influence on the wisdom-of-the-crowd effect is a rather surprising result nevertheless: this article by Lorentz et al. in PNAS states “that even mild social influence can undermine the wisdom of crowd effect in simple estimation tasks.”. Furthermore “Examples of the revealed mechanism range from misled elites to the recent global financial crisis”. And I always thought the latter was a consequence of the former.


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