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The Slow Web is for Documentation, The Fast Web is for Pageviews.

Last posted Jun 24, 2010 at 12:04AM EDT. Added Jun 23, 2010 at 06:43PM EDT
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Check out Rebecca Blood’s short post about archiving+analysis (slow web) vs informing+acquiring (fast web).

In our work at KYM, we need to strike a balance between the two, documenting memes as they emerge and revisiting them to place them in the right context when they mature.

The Slow Web (plus: the modern experience of film-watching)

Jim Emerson has written a thoughtful post on the ways in which the experience and social element of film-watching have changed, not disappeared--and why that points to a brighter future (and present) than the past. It’s a terrific piece, well worth reading for that alone.
Embedded deep in the article is a tangential and thought-provoking idea that is also worth your consideration:

“[W]e need a Slow Internet Movement along the lines of Slow Food and Slow Cinema, if we’re really going to take advantage of the archival nature of the Web. It’s not just about being first and fast and superficial; it’s an opportunity to consider a spectrum of arguments and evidence.”

As you know, the blogging mainstream has veered 180 degrees from anything resembling a Slow Internet aesthetic[*]. But Jim’s phrase “the archival nature of the Web” hits the nail on the head. With so much analysis, reflection, and imagination collected on the Internet, why are there not more writers curating, collating, and synthesizing this vast repository with measured deliberation?

Most popular bloggers will tell you that this is exactly what they do--but they do it at lightning speed. The popular Web most closely resembles a hyper-paced newspaper, with Extra editions required for every new development, regardless of its importance. Publish (and publish and publish) or perish is the credo--and in fact the reality--of any Internet publication that desires mindshare and/or advertising revenue.

The Slow Web would be more like a book, retaining many of the elements of the Popular Web, but unhurried, re-considered, additive. Research would no longer be restricted to rapid responders. Conclusions would be intentionally postponed until sufficiently noodled-with. Writers could budget sufficient dream-time before setting pixel to page. Fresh thinking would no longer have to happen in real time.

I love the Fast Web, and I value the work that is done there. But no matter how informed, intelligent, and talented a writer may be, an idea that has been returned to and then turned away from, repeatedly, is simply different from one that is formed in a few hours, based on that afternoon’s best available facts. (via@ebertchigago)

[*] Obviously there are exceptions, but on the Web in general and on blogs specifically, to the “first and fast” belong the spoils traffic.

Last edited Jun 23, 2010 at 06:44PM EDT
Jun 23, 2010 at 06:43PM EDT

Great stuff.

(the rest of this is stuff Kenyatta already knows, but is directed at the thread.)

Our site’s Submissions process basically works as an example of the Slow Web. If a brand new meme has emerged, submit it. But it’s best to continually update the submission over and over with new info.

And then we try not to confirm a meme submission or make an episode about it until the meme has basically run its course and everything noteworthy has happened. We value completeness over novelty when it comes to actually clicking the button to confirm the submission.

But people submit in the Fast Internet way more often than not, especially when they’re new to the community. And that’s okay for what it is, even if fails to reveals anything about the mechanics of how the meme performed as it did, why it went viral, etc. These are all things that can’t be known right away, so it’s to be expected that this information will be missing from most new submissions. People want to let us know when something memetic is going down, and they usually assume they’re the first to tell us.

We’re also starting to address this issue in the Know Your Meme videos. We’ve started creating Breaking Meme videos that simply introduce what’s happened so far in the spread of the meme, and a little analysis, and full episodes should ideally be made once we’re confident that the meme’s development is more or less complete.

Last edited Jun 24, 2010 at 12:05AM EDT
Jun 24, 2010 at 12:04AM EDT

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