[p2p-research] recommender systems lead to monopoly populism

Michel Bauwens michelsub2004 at gmail.com
Sat Nov 7 05:04:26 CET 2009

Dear Paul,

This is an important article, and I hope you can comment this for our blog,
it it basically argues that the long tail is an illusion,

let me know if you can't do it,



So there it is. Individual diversity and cultural homogeneity coexisting in
what we might call *monopoly populism*.

But don't think this is just about automated recommender systems, like the
ones that Amazon and Netflix use. The recommender "system" could be anything
that tends to build on its own popularity, including word of mouth. A couple
of weeks ago someone pointed me to this
 of Madin, a six-year-old soccer prodigy from Algeria, and the next day my
son, who moves in very different online circles to me, was watching the same
one. I know who Jim Cramer is even though we don't get CNBC in Canada
because everyone is talking about him and helping his disembodied head to
shoot down Jon Stewart<http://www.thebigmoney.com/articles/news/2009/03/13/play-jim-cramers-crashteroids-game>.
More people watched Tina Fey being Sarah Palin online than on Saturday Night
Live, and Fey is now famous in countries where no one watches the TV show.
Clay Shirky writes an
 and I get five different links to it in my Google Reader feed in one
morning. Our online experiences are heavily correlated, and we end up with
monopoly populism.

A "niche", remember, is a protected and hidden recess or cranny, not just
another row in a big database. Ecological niches need protection from the
surrounding harsh environment if they are to thrive. Simply putting lots of
music into a single online iTunes store is no recipe for a broad,
niche-friendly culture.

Work: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhurakij_Pundit_University - Research:
http://www.dpu.ac.th/dpuic/info/Research.html - Think thank:

P2P Foundation: http://p2pfoundation.net  - http://blog.p2pfoundation.net

Connect: http://p2pfoundation.ning.com; Discuss:

Updates: http://del.icio.us/mbauwens; http://friendfeed.com/mbauwens;
http://twitter.com/mbauwens; http://www.facebook.com/mbauwens
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