Emerging Systems I: Twitter

Emerging Systems is a popular science book that has given me patterns to understand some things about the times we live in. It is useful, for example, to understand Twitter.

Twitter is an environment where an emergent or complex system is developed. It has few rules and they are simple and less than 10, for example: 140 characters, a timeline where you see who you follow, allows you to interact with other websites through the API,...

It has simple rules that generate many interactions from which intelligence emerges from the bottom up and self-organizes, that is, from each interaction information emerges and is transmitted, the more die, the less are amplified and mixed. There are only a few that produce great and irreversible changes, this is the case of Wikileaks.

Look at how much Twitter resembles such an abstract system that is Steven Berlin Johnsonthe author of Sistemas Emergentes who defines Twitter as follows Wikipedia:

As a social network, Twitter revolves around the principle of followers. When you choose to follow another Twitter user, that user's tweets appear in reverse chronological order, on the main Twitter page. If you follow 20 people, you'll see a mix of tweets scroll down the page: updates on breakfast cereal, new links of interest, music recommendations, even musings on the future of education.

Twitter may be an extreme case, but that's why I put it first, because it makes us see what we are talking about. If you have been using Twitter for a few months you will understand what a pop-up system is.

Understanding the 21st century means understanding, among other things, two rules of the game that are very difficult for us to accept because they go against prejudices that we have had anchored for generations. Two rules: giving things away for free can make money (e.g. Google) and intelligence no longer flows from the top down but from the bottom up (e.g. Twitter).


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