In the Loop

Bacteria and social media

Posted at 12:34 PM on November 3, 2006 by Andrew Haeg

book.jpgThe other day I interviewed Steven Johnson, author of a new book called the Ghost Map. It's a ripping good yarn about the 1854 cholera outbreak in London, and the two men who divined its source. But it's also a book of very current ideas that have some relevance to what we're doing with the Loop. Also read a recent New Yorker article/review.

cholera.jpgSo what do bacteria and social media have to do with each other? It's an important question, and those who get the answer right will be the power players in the Web 2.0 world.

Steven Johnson is one who is both asking the right questions and taking some intelligent stabs at an answer. As he's done in the past, Johnosn launched a website ( to coincide with his latest book's publication. ( allows you to browse through blog postings by zip code and a Google map.)

Spore.jpgOthers are following Johnson's lead. In the same New Yorker issue featuring The Ghost Map, writer John Seabrook profiles SimCity creator Will Wright and talks about the new game he's developing, Spore--which gives players the chance to manage life from its origins in the tidal pool to intergalactic settlements. (Interesting to note that Steven Johnson also recently profiled Will Wright and Spore. )

From Cholera to Spore, to The Loop, it's clear we're amid a paradigm shift, from web 1.0 to web 2.0, from the Information Age to the Network Age, from a top down media to bottom up. The Loop is part of this, and so are you. So what does it all mean?

November 2006
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