The Idea Dude


Monday, November 17, 2008

The internet is a fish tank

The Georgia Aquarium is reputedly the world's largest aquarium, home to whale sharks the size of school buses. My favorite exhibit is the one that is the home of African Cichlids, multi-colored fish originating from Lake Malawi, Tanganyika and Victoria in mid-Africa.

Looking at the picture reminds of why internet communities are as beautiful as they are interesting.

  • Diversity - there are apparently somewhere between 1300 to 3000 species.
  • Color - the beauty lies in the many colors rather than the fact they are all the same color. In fact one can say they are all the same yet each one is different.
  • Uniformity - there isn't one overpowering species that is much bigger than others, they are all pretty much the same size, giving a sense of harmony and coexistence.
  • Interest - the randomness (or apparent randomness) of behavior is what makes aquariums interesting and watchable. e.g. you could take a hundred photographs of the same fish tank and never have a duplicate picture.

I think that's what the Internet has done. It has provided both the lens and the means to create communities. However, when communities get too big, they become uninteresting because there is too much information, too much activity. So much so, we stop seeing distinctiveness but everything is blur. The same can be said if there are too few in a community, it becomes boring and predictable. The key is balance.

Perhaps when we design communities, we should think of them more as a dynamic ecosystem that needs to feed and thrive. It is a delicate balance that tipped either way will lead to its demise.

So perhaps I should create an online dating site called, "Finding Nemo"?


Blogger Elisabeth said...

Yes, I think the blogosphere is something like that.

Lol, the 'Finding Nemo" bit!

3:51 PM  
Blogger The Idea Dude said...

:) Thanks for dropping by, Elizabeth.

4:12 PM  

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