By 2010, personal blogs were thriving, Tumblr was still in its prime, and meme-makers were revolutionizing with form. Snapchat was created in 2011 and Vine, the beloved six-second video app, was born in 2012. People still spent time posting to forums, reading daily entries on sites like FML, and watching Shiba Inus grow up on 24-hour puppy cams. On February 26, 2015—a day that now feels like an iconic marker of the decade — millions of people on the internet argued about whether a dress was blue or gold, and watched live video of two llamas on the lam in suburban Arizona. Sites like Gawker, the Awl, Rookie, the Hairpin, and Deadspin still existed. Until they didn’t. One by one, they were destroyed by an increasingly unsustainable media ecosystem built for the wealthy.
Completely unrelated post from 2004 about lurkers and social media (social media meaning blogs at that time):
Taking it one step further, maybe the ‘magic numbers’ we see in networks of humans relate these meshing concepts to our mental capacity to juggle social data.
- 12 being the average capacity to track nodes in a totally meshed network
- 50 being the average capacity to track nodes in an optimally meshed network
- 150 being the average capacity to track nodes in a sub-optimally meshed network.
- above 150 being the sparsely meshed social network where anonymity and getting lost becomes possible.
If we relate this to blogs and Clay Shirky’s power law, teenage diaries blogs are possibly primarily on the 12/total meshing levels, professional content blogs are probably all in the 50 to 150 ranges, with distinct stability levels (my blog went from 0 to 12 inbound blogs then stabilized, then grew to just over fifty inbound blogs and stabilized again.) Above 150 people are more sparsely connected and start looking for beacons or leaders to orient themselves socially. This is the range where the broadcasting type blogs are, the A-listers.
I cried inside a little when I read teenage diaries. Yes, we used to have that. They were weird looking blogs rumbling about random crap, but it was creative and fun.
Why don’t we have things like that on the web anymore?