Decentralization & anthro

I was just reading Scott Rosenberg’s account of the SuperNova conference in Palo Alto (at

The Decentralization conference was designed to ask Howard Rheingold’s question in Smart Mobs. What happens when you get lots of people with wireless devices and constant access to their own and one another’s blogs?

There is an anthropological answer: new and extraordinary opportunities for social and cultural observation, thousands of people doing the anthropology of contemporary culture on line in real time.

To observe the world is to change it. Who is going to wear that new Gap scarf a second time? Not when it is spotted in every Starbucks in the North America, the day it hits the market.

The chatter will be interesting:

“So who else is seeing that scarf with multi colored blocks about 3 inches wide that run down a scarf that’s about 6 feet long.”

“One just walked in here.”

“Shit, there’s another.”

Scarves will go from novelty to cliche in a day.