Archive for August 2007
This is a small site with modest traffic. But it is still the case that a substantial set of inbound links lead people from diverse origins — search engines, blogs, content aggregators, feed readers, directories, etc. — to many destinations within the site every day. Some of these connections are visible in the del.icio.us tag clouds that appear with individual postings, my contribution to the Web’s ongoing collective experiment with tagging and social bookmarking.
French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu named this set of connections and the social relationships associated with them in the early 1970s, coining the term social capital, and thereby inspiring legions of civic and international organizations to create development, investment, and management strategies for this new valuable kind of resource.
Fast forward a bit, and we can see that no matter how you choose to calculate that value, Google has built a business relying the new resource of cumulative social capital, using it via mechanisms such as latent semantic indexing.
And we can see that in giving form and focus to the idea of social capital, Bourdieu set the conceptual stage for the recent explosion of social media and networking applications. Simultaneously destinations — albeit of unknown lifespan — and business ventures, the social networks are recent exemplars of longtime cultural movements of reification, virtualization, and visualization of fields — another key concept identified by Bourdieu.
Behind the scenes, the information architecture that solidifies the limited social capital of this site in physical / digital form is a motley collection of disparately named HTML files, tag destination pages, cgi-powered content streams, RSS feeds, local search results sets, etc. The prospect of getting another publishing platform to mimic this miscellany was — like tuning an instrument to play songs composed with notes from another music system — not something I could do as quickly and cheaply.
And so in combination with the perpetual urgency of the DIY mindset, the imperative of preserving the value of the existing store of social capital made the decision to upgrade along an existing path to MT4 simple.
Architecturally, this is the equivalent of sticking with the brand name you know well.
We’ll be upgrading to MT4 in the near future. Apologies for any technical difficulties that result.