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Blogs | Gossip | Advocacy

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Lifted from danah's site

from Stephen Vandyke

This post from danah is on the way news travels and the impact of blogs on the information flow. danah's subsequent rejigger to develop an infographic for the way gossip flows and the individual nature of geek vs. hipster inspired me to think about the infographic of advocacy information. Groups all think that our issue is the most important. Our "Dark Matter" is also a source like gossip. It is a combo of policy wonk chatter (Congressman X is attacking national forest ), stories that motivate people and actions that affect people (news from the NIMBY movement...power lines, walmart, development being planned that relate to larger policy failures.) These issues peculate with lots of groups referring to these new "Sources" which are in turn become initiatives of organizations or foundations to meet donor (or create) demand and then information flows out as RFPs, web sites, press releases, action alerts, grassroots groups picking up new language and programs, etc. The feeding of the secondary sources intensifies the cycle. Finally, the politicians and donors start to move like mainstream "offline" outlets. Just like danahs individual-centric overview of gossip, general advocacy follows many of the same dynamics.

I am sure there are a few of these infographics on advocacy issues. I should try to hunt them down.

The thing is, things twist all around when you do that. The "Dark Matter" becomes the SOURCE, personality tests become the "Dark Matter" and "Offline Media" become the "Traditional Big Media." Plus, instead of having greater/lesser blogosphere based on visits/day, you have hipsters/dorks based on internal perceived fashion (note: everyone thinks that *they* are the hipsters and that everyone else are the dorks so these graphs are inevitably individual-centric). What's important though is not getting to some "MetaNews" but affecting Friendster Profiles and getting loads and loads of support in the comments. That way, everyone knows that you're gossip is way more valuable than anyone else's. And then, of course, there's Gawker.


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