Welcome to the bloggy home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Percolate and general internet tinkerer. This site is about media, culture, technology, and randomness. It's been around since 2004 (I'm pretty sure). Feel free to get in touch. Get in touch.

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the gentrification of geek news communities

One of the questions I have about the world is whether it’s possible to ascend without an eventual descent. I expect Newton answered that question a long time ago,, but in terms of companies or communities it’s fascinating to me. 15 years ago it would have seemed impossible that Microsoft would have been knocked off its perch and today it seems equally impossible that Google will descend. However, if history (or gravity) is any lesson, we know that it will eventually fall. The same seems to be true with communities: Hippies eventually became yuppies after all. (Kind of relates to Metcalfe’s Plateau.)

Anyway, I really liked this analogy from a post about how geek news sites get quickly overrun: “The shift of online communities resembles urban development and the gentrification of many hip neighborhoods. The artists and hackers move in first, they are in development parlance, risk tolerant. For urban neighborhoods that means they’ll deal with crime if they can get cool warehouses to take over. Then slowly the neighborhood transforms, and gets some nice cafes and clubs, gets known as the place where the hip kids play, and more people come. Rent gets driven up, the crowds come, it becomes to crowded, and the hipsters have to move on. Just replace hipsters with alpha geeks and you get the same process.”

July 8, 2008