January 09, 2003
Just read : Small pieces loosely joined

Reading this book so close to reading The Cluetrain Manifesto was a mistake. There are too many similarities, and Weinberger even reworks one of the examples from Cluetrain into the new book.

Small Pieces is a nice enough book. It is very chatty and the points Weinberger makes about what human interaction on the internet is all about, while well made, aren't really as new or as unique as the reviews of the book had me believe. The biggest problem with the book is that it is not really about the technology that has enabled the new ways of communication, nor is it about the social mechanisms of people that makes this technology interesting. It is exactly an account of some cases where existing technology has afforded some new social situations and an account of some of the aspects of the impact of these particular situations.
That is of course of independent interest, but in not pointing out why we create the technology or why the technology has the power it does, the book does not really help you speculate about the next new mechanism we will see.

In that way the books seems like too little too late. Many of the observations made are readily available to any actor in the social situations described (like the painfully obvious lengthy discussions of the importance and nature of 'netiquette', i.e. the informal one-on-one communication form of newsgroups).

Furthermore the focus (cluetrain all over again) on the one-to-one feel of the individual networked connection in this book also overlooks the actual layout of the internet where the information hubs are really the bread and butter of information age life. With the size the internet has now, I have to say that the usefullness of the one-to-one features of the net are somewhat dominated by the brilliant hubs that are typically automated systems. But then again I'm a techie and that means of course that the automated systems serve up a lot of (inhuman) information of value to me.

Posted by Claus at January 09, 2003 12:56 AM
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