The idiots laughing beside you

I was having a lot of trouble getting what Steve Gillmor meant by “gestures,” which he says are what comes after “attention.”

That was until he got to this line: “Why do we like comedies at the movie house–to enjoy the laughter of the idiots next to us.”

What the heck is he talking about?

Yet another form of metadata about things that we can use to build new systems like a future TechMeme.

Gillmor is the guy behind NewsGang and gestures are how things get onto its “Active” page.

I still don’t quite understand Gillmor. Do you?

20 thoughts on “The idiots laughing beside you

  1. Ok, here is what it looks like to me, and I think that I am right.

    If you go to http://newsgangbeta.tagregator.com/gang/ you will see three tabs below the title, The Gang, Techmeme, and Blogrunner. Each of these tabs will show you a river of links from these feeds. The Gesture is when someone clicks on a link. Those stories that get the most gestures show up on the active page and top stories.

    So clicking on a link is a vote for that link.

    I am using plucker to get a copy of newsgang and then put it on my palm pilot. So partial post feeds just don’t get read, and really long posts I can read. Its formatted wonderfully for a mobile browser. It wont work on my phone though.

  2. Ok, here is what it looks like to me, and I think that I am right.

    If you go to http://newsgangbeta.tagregator.com/gang/ you will see three tabs below the title, The Gang, Techmeme, and Blogrunner. Each of these tabs will show you a river of links from these feeds. The Gesture is when someone clicks on a link. Those stories that get the most gestures show up on the active page and top stories.

    So clicking on a link is a vote for that link.

    I am using plucker to get a copy of newsgang and then put it on my palm pilot. So partial post feeds just don’t get read, and really long posts I can read. Its formatted wonderfully for a mobile browser. It wont work on my phone though.

  3. I think it’s a very interesting idea, but I don’t buy it.

    I will agree that the gestures of those around us supplement a viewing experience, but they are not the entertainment. I love people-watching, at a mall or plaza, but in a theater, content is king.

    Almost like an enhancing drug, real laughter and real expressions of pleasure make the joy that we feel at a comedy show feel even more real. Dr. Cialdini in his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” calls this social proof; when we feel like others approve or disapprove, we are influenced to comply. TV studios discovered this years ago and added the laugh track to their shows. That may be somewhat ok for comedy, but what about news?

    The gesture model may be a time-saver, but leaves people open to be influenced by shrewd marketers and politicians. If everyone is tuning in to the same show, who is discovering content? What is influencing them? Marketing? Advertising?

    What about publishers that don’t have the means to market or advertise? Who finds them? How do they get their voice to be heard?

  4. I think it’s a very interesting idea, but I don’t buy it.

    I will agree that the gestures of those around us supplement a viewing experience, but they are not the entertainment. I love people-watching, at a mall or plaza, but in a theater, content is king.

    Almost like an enhancing drug, real laughter and real expressions of pleasure make the joy that we feel at a comedy show feel even more real. Dr. Cialdini in his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” calls this social proof; when we feel like others approve or disapprove, we are influenced to comply. TV studios discovered this years ago and added the laugh track to their shows. That may be somewhat ok for comedy, but what about news?

    The gesture model may be a time-saver, but leaves people open to be influenced by shrewd marketers and politicians. If everyone is tuning in to the same show, who is discovering content? What is influencing them? Marketing? Advertising?

    What about publishers that don’t have the means to market or advertise? Who finds them? How do they get their voice to be heard?

  5. Maybe simply: people’s reactions to something, and consequently their validation of our own reaction, are vitally important.

    So if Scoble links to an article and adds a brief comment, that’s more valuable than the article in isolation.

  6. Maybe simply: people’s reactions to something, and consequently their validation of our own reaction, are vitally important.

    So if Scoble links to an article and adds a brief comment, that’s more valuable than the article in isolation.

  7. As near as I can figure out, “gesture” = “comment on blog post.” Or, by way of extension, a “Digg”, or a product review on Amazon, or rating someone’s iMix in the iTunes Store, or adding a caption to a picture using PhotoCrank (as on FSJ’s site)…

    People reading Scobelizer = Attention.

    People commenting on Scoble’s blog post = Gesture.

    Gesture = Feedback.

    Attention to something is valuable, but in a world of too much information divided by the time to consume a portion of it, signalling a lack of attention is more valuable.

    0 Comments on a post = maybe I don’t need to read this. :-)

    The Gesture Economy’s power derives from its obedience to the time constraints of the user-in-charge.

    I think he means people is busy. ;-)

    Gestures become inextricably interwoven with so-called content, creating a fabric of intelligence, emotion, and humor that is difficult if not impossible for audiences to resist. Why do we like comedies at the movie house–to enjoy the laughter of the idiots next to us.

    Sometimes the comments on the post are better than the post. Sometimes the heckler is more entertaining than the person up on the stage. “Don’t tase me, bro.”

    Hmmm. I guess this makes me an idiot in the audience? It’s pretty easy to feel that way, though, when Mr. Gillmor goes out of his way to be intentionally opaque and prolix; a simulacrum of Baudrillard, as it were. ;-)

    If this “Gesture Economy” is real, then I suppose the next step will be the development of the “Laugh Track” — an artificial “gesture,” in which you discover that the laughing idiot next to you is actually a recording.

    actually a recording.

    actually a recording.

    actually a recording.

    actually a re^C

  8. As near as I can figure out, “gesture” = “comment on blog post.” Or, by way of extension, a “Digg”, or a product review on Amazon, or rating someone’s iMix in the iTunes Store, or adding a caption to a picture using PhotoCrank (as on FSJ’s site)…

    People reading Scobelizer = Attention.

    People commenting on Scoble’s blog post = Gesture.

    Gesture = Feedback.

    Attention to something is valuable, but in a world of too much information divided by the time to consume a portion of it, signalling a lack of attention is more valuable.

    0 Comments on a post = maybe I don’t need to read this. :-)

    The Gesture Economy’s power derives from its obedience to the time constraints of the user-in-charge.

    I think he means people is busy. ;-)

    Gestures become inextricably interwoven with so-called content, creating a fabric of intelligence, emotion, and humor that is difficult if not impossible for audiences to resist. Why do we like comedies at the movie house–to enjoy the laughter of the idiots next to us.

    Sometimes the comments on the post are better than the post. Sometimes the heckler is more entertaining than the person up on the stage. “Don’t tase me, bro.”

    Hmmm. I guess this makes me an idiot in the audience? It’s pretty easy to feel that way, though, when Mr. Gillmor goes out of his way to be intentionally opaque and prolix; a simulacrum of Baudrillard, as it were. ;-)

    If this “Gesture Economy” is real, then I suppose the next step will be the development of the “Laugh Track” — an artificial “gesture,” in which you discover that the laughing idiot next to you is actually a recording.

    actually a recording.

    actually a recording.

    actually a recording.

    actually a re^C

  9. Why ask us what Gillmor means?

    Ask him. I’d love to know why he writes and speaks in obscure and confusing metaphors. He gives the impression that he’s seeing over the horizon and grasping profound and useful insights. But who really knows?

    He’s the Nostradamus of tech writers. Might as well be writing an astrology column. Does he do it on purpose as a way to filter out idiots like me? I remember when he spoke at Gnomedex a few years ago. At lunch following his session I asked a bunch of folks what he had just said. Nobody could tell me.

    NewsGang is cool though. I’ll rate it as very gestury, and extra attention worthy. Whatever that means.

  10. Why ask us what Gillmor means?

    Ask him. I’d love to know why he writes and speaks in obscure and confusing metaphors. He gives the impression that he’s seeing over the horizon and grasping profound and useful insights. But who really knows?

    He’s the Nostradamus of tech writers. Might as well be writing an astrology column. Does he do it on purpose as a way to filter out idiots like me? I remember when he spoke at Gnomedex a few years ago. At lunch following his session I asked a bunch of folks what he had just said. Nobody could tell me.

    NewsGang is cool though. I’ll rate it as very gestury, and extra attention worthy. Whatever that means.

  11. I think he means that figuring out what content is linked to most isn’t enough, that what we do with that content (gestures to him seem to equal emailing it, copying it, printing it off, writing a blog about it, and so on) is more telling when it comes to what is most valuable to us.

    In other words, we live in an ever growing collaborative online world, and content that is being manipulated somehow has more importance to that world.

    The movie house example is a way of saying that the movie alone (the content) isn’t as valuable to us as the the movie plus the gestures (the laughter) surrounding the content.

    Anyway, I just read this quickly and have never heard of this gesture stuff before, so I could be wrong, but that’s what it seems to be saying, and I would have to agree with him. If he has a way of quantifying the value of what he calls gestures, that would be very interesting.

  12. I think he means that figuring out what content is linked to most isn’t enough, that what we do with that content (gestures to him seem to equal emailing it, copying it, printing it off, writing a blog about it, and so on) is more telling when it comes to what is most valuable to us.

    In other words, we live in an ever growing collaborative online world, and content that is being manipulated somehow has more importance to that world.

    The movie house example is a way of saying that the movie alone (the content) isn’t as valuable to us as the the movie plus the gestures (the laughter) surrounding the content.

    Anyway, I just read this quickly and have never heard of this gesture stuff before, so I could be wrong, but that’s what it seems to be saying, and I would have to agree with him. If he has a way of quantifying the value of what he calls gestures, that would be very interesting.

Comments are closed.