August 02, 2003

Marketing the future of the futures market.

Now that it's working well for me and I'm paying more attention to it, I'm finally starting to get an idea of the emergent properties of Blogshares, and of the nested structures that it's building. (Finally reading Blogshare's help pages helped considerably with this, of course.)

You start by buying shares in blogs that have been listed on Blogshares.

Similarly-themed blogs now exist within industries. Properties of blogs (link statistics) generate ideas; you could think of these as shares in industries, as they express the properties of industry connectivity.

Buy enough ideas, and you have an artefact. Right now artefacts are internal operators, given cutesy and functionally meaningless thematic descriptions, that are generated by the ownership of ten thousand bought ideas. An artefact is a modifier of the internal status of Blogshares; it has little external reality. It's like reaching the next level of Blogshares and getting a trading powerup; it's self-referential.

What matters is the external reality that Blogshares is based in.

What if Blogshares could track the spread of a meme through an industry's blogs by relating a train of links back to an original permalinked post? It's already doing this, in a granular fashion, at the blog level to generate the statistics needed to compute ideas; improving the granularity for selected nominated permalinks and building a list of related permalink urls, where each added permalink is an entry linking to a permalink url already in that list, can't be that hard. A growing list is a spreading meme; an idea that, literally, has currency.

Nominating a permalink as a meme might be made expensive, in Blogshare currency terms, to discourage computational misuse; if a meme skyrockets in popularity, there should be a payoff for nominating it and betting your money on that rising star.

If Blogshares could track growth of nominated memes via the growth of their chain of related permalinks, and you could really buy and sell shares in or bet on the spread of real expressed-in-words ideas... then we would have a futures market as soon as the first idea about the future is expressed in a permalinked blog entry, and someone decides it's worth nominating as a spreading meme.

So, for example, I might want to speculate on the worth of an idea described in, oh, a post in one of the Jupiter Research analyst weblogs, or in another analyst's weblog, because ultimately all bloggers can be analysts. I'd nominate that as a meme via its permalink, and reap the reward based upon the extent of any growing linked blog discussion around that post and idea.

In tracking posts relating to a nominated link, you're really tracking the spread and growth of controversy about an expressed idea or position rather than votes in favour of the likelihood of that idea per se. But it's an attention economy, where linking is a form of credit. And that does seem to be good enough for Google. Google works. Attention to the future is just one sort of attention; the futures market is just one subset of spreading memes expanding from permalink to permalink. News is another.

I think I've just described the future of Blogshares (and when no-one links to this, I'll know I'm wrong. If only I could nominate this as the first Blogshares meme.)

Posted by Lloyd Wood at August 2, 2003 12:12 AM | TrackBack

I've described a similar idea at CommunityWiki:MarketBasedAttentionAllocation (see link below). In addition to creating a futures market in individual "ideas", I think it would be interesting to build a website which used the results of this market as the moderation algorithm. That is, imagine a Scoop which posted stories to the front page based on a price threshold, rather than a vote threshold.

Posted by: Bayle Shanks at March 1, 2004 07:32 AM
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