Information

entropy Web

Entropy on Web

Internet is the great box of all that is said, thought or done in our era.

Internet is a participative space. 
Practically, it gives everyone the freedom of speech and thought. 

It is the natural consequence of the global need, to participate, to express one’s own thought and opinion, by debating and countering.
Modern society limited to very few the publication and diffusion of contents, to authorities or privileged, leaving to all others, the mass, only the role of listeners, readers and viewers.
“Webmodern” society, beginning with Internet, has opened Pandora’s box. It has given to everybody the immediate possibility to bring the own contribution, even if not authoritative.
In fact, we moved in a short time, a decade, from an elitist management of information to an anarchic management of the same; from preclusion to total openness, from a mono flow of a directional communication to an informative and global tsunami.

Every network node, every person, communicates, participates. 
Everyone can write what he wants. 

All the world’s inhabitants who have a normal level of sociability and communication are exposed online.

It is estimated a traffic of 5 billion gigabytes per day. 
That means approximately 1 gigabyte for each inhabitant of planet Earth. 

What is generating this enormous informative mass?

Entropy, a lot of entropy. 

To explain what is happening, we support two definitions of entropy, which we find very modern and relevant.

  1. A gradual degeneration of a system toward the maximum disorder.

It is our case: Internet has been overloaded of contents of every kind; it is getting more and more difficult to find, browse, trace and expose, if not taking to extremes the ways of communication as well as the content published. First we have overcrowded our urban centers turning them into metropolis, now we are overcrowding the web.

  1. The information theory, what is of impediment to the clarity and uniqueness of the message; major is the entropy, minor is the quantity of information.

An informative overloading, coming from below, can progressively create an informative short circuit? Absolutely! In the face of billion of contents inserted daily, the original information, valid and competent, is submerged by an endless quantity of “trash contents”.
The search engines, especially Google, in front of this informative tsunami, must evaluate all the information by guessing what is relevant and understand what the cyberuser is searching for.
It is an ocean of noise that very often turns into small waves on the shore. Google algorithmically disintegrates the entropy by reducing it, on the first page, to thirteen or fourteen occurrences, of which three or four proposals for advertising. The rest, all of it, is in the storage, available only beginning from page two, for few, very few curious; a single process, unthinkable only ten years ago.
To an excessive increase of posted contents, getting from all over correspond a very high level of entropy and consequently a reduced set of useful information.

What will happen in the next decade? 

The most catastrophists say that the entropy, the overloading of contents, will win and all of us will be satisfied with the first ten options of the result list or maybe only with the first occurrence on the list.
The most optimists are convinced that this is only an early stage. A new “Generation Z” more skilled to use the web, will make use of the information more consciously. Simultaneously the search engines will develop more rational and intelligent algorithms.

To be realistic both dynamics will partially impose. 

The surplus of contents which involves all the topics discussed online makes difficult the search and the evaluation having an impact on our way of thinking, our ethic, our social and political conscience.
The Internet’s future lies in the dynamics of use by billion of users as well as in the informative flows which follow, ever-expanding flows. The limits for this process or the expanding methods are unknown and, to this day, are unpredictable.
Maybe the excess of information will determine in the future a BIG BANG of our virtual universe, the Web. To that point, we will invent something else.

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The website popularity, an ephemeral love between algorithms and culture

broken-heart
Imagine putting all our personal and cultural references in a large jar: photographs, books, notes, stories, poems, birthday and Christmas greeting cards, drawings made by our children when they were little and so on and so forth.
Imagine that, just after filling the jar to the top, we realize that the mouth of the jar is a bit tight, and therefore we can pull out only one object at a time. At this point we have to overcome the impasse and establish a picking rule, otherwise all our valuable objects will become unreachable.
Well, this is what happened on the Internet! Network has become our multimedia knowledge container, but not only that. So, while we were putting our information into the global container, we discovered that without the appropriate tools for research and without a network of relationship, the information was often unreachable. After all, how many times in the past the treasure map has been lost and with it the hidden treasure?
Today’ success of a search engine is a direct consequence of its ability to collect and display information from the network, which means, as I metaphorically mentioned above, to have the jar completely full. The search engine has to show this information in a logical sequence, but above all, it has to guess the user’s request basing its research on the few terms received from the user.
The increase number of information along with the increase number of people on network have placed on top the best web search engines, able to satisfy our demands less than in a few instants.  Over the top are placed the “algorithms“ as well as methods of calculation, everything designed by man and ran obsessively by computer. Computer able to judge by itself the information spread on network.
Among these algorithms probably the most famous is the “pagerank“. This algorithm is able to attach different importance to internet web pages according to their popularity, or, rather to the number of sites relative to these pages. Higher will be the number of sites that link to “our” web page, greater will be our popularity.
Today there are many other intelligent algorithms that analyze “our” web page from the point of view of contents expounded, from every single term used, from the frequency with which we update our content, from the profundity of navigation expressed by our portal / site / blog, from the interest expressed by the social network, from the cleverness of writing our page (title, subtitle, …), etc …
As happens in the real world, also happens in the virtual world: to reach a high popularity, means hard work. We must be well known by lots of network people therefore clicked, linked, posted, mentioned … And of course, same as in the real world, upkeep our popularity is extremely difficult, that requires efficiency and talent even for the most tenacious ones.
However sometimes the popularity generates further popularity without new strategies application … being on  the “front page” means being featured on the “global showcase“, selected and mentioned, and this will increase our ranking, as a result, our new location will bring us to the fore rising our ranking higher and higher.
The popularity on web, the climax of every blogger or writer, dependents on a selection process extremely rational, algorithmic, I dare say similar to that described by Darwin, a process of evolutionary selection, that assigns notoriety to those already famous, but not less interested in new, original, lasting forms of information and culture. We talk about a rational cynical process, unceasingly active, open to innovation, a “mutant”, sometimes complicated sometimes incredibly superficial.
Given these premises, who knows what kind of love will blossom between the ranking algorithms and our culture: a true one or just an ephemeral one?

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