Bubbling blogs and emergent order

Fleming adds some very useful counterpoint to the evolving debate on blogs and power laws started by Clay Shirky. He picks up on Ross Mayfield’s post on Distribution of Choice that I picked up on yesterday, but takes it in a more interesting direction. He focuses on what can emerge from each of us thinking, writing, and then interacting with one another. The patterns that Shirky sees at the macro level are the end result of all of our activities at the micro level. Some of Fleming’s key observations:

Blogging allows us to work more openly and refer to each other’s work, while also sharing it with a bigger audience. …

Connections form. …float up and into the cloud of the web. Specifically they will end up in an assortment of directories and search engines, most notably in Google.

…the choices of many relatively ordinary folks become more visible than ever before. And they form emergent patterns that become very visible.

…The point is not at all whether I have unfairly more or less readers than some other weblog. The emerging democracy in blogs is in that we together leverage our choices in a way that normally isn’t possible unless you run a big corporation or you’re run by one. We’re a swarm of thought bubbles. [Ming the Mechanic]

What we have in blogging are tools and a process that let us participate in the kinds of messy, distributed, emergent process that will characterize work and life for us tomorrow. It’s the concrete instantiation of what Howard Rheingold is talking about in Smart Mobs and Steven Johnson described in Emergence.