Calling Jack Thurston

QuestionmarkThis is an experiment in online social networking. If you are Jack Thurston of ‘The Bike Show from Resonance FM‘ fame please leave a comment.

It’s also an interesting case study, particularly for those who are struggling to figure this stuff out and grasp the relevance of it for them or their organisations.

The hypothesis behind this experiment is that social networking is a powerful tool and is very effective at joining people up with similar interests even though they are ‘doing their own thing in their own way in their own (online) places’.

A comment from Jack on this diary post will help confirm this hypothsis. Let’s see what happens.

Why Jack?
Last night I was listening to a podcast by Jon Winston from Bikescape using iTunes. Coincidentally, I had the Last.FM program running. This told me that 323 Last.FM users had also listened to this podcast while running Last.FM. It told me that it knew nothing about the ‘artist’ (Jon Winston). It also told me that there were two ‘Similar artists’: Jack Thurston and Scott Alumbaugh.

Last.FM knows nothing about Jack Thurston either, so I do a Google search and find his blog. At this point I realise that I have come across Jack before. He also does a podcast with a cycling theme*.

I read on and realise that we don’t just share an interest in cycling but there is also a rural thread in common. I then remember that my colleague, Paul Henderson, highlighted one of Jack’s projects to me about two week’s ago: www.farmsubsidy.org This amazing (and very clever) project uses modern law (freedom of information) and technology to bring together data on farm subsidies. It shows who gets what. David Henke of the Guardian wrote about here.

And finally, I see that Jack has a general interest in technology and attended the ‘BarCamp‘ that many of the people who got involved in the Open Innovation Exchange went to.

The chances are that Jack will find this post because he (or someone who knows him) will have his/her RSS Reader set up to scan for people writing about The Bike Show or farmsubsidy.org

Anyway, if Jack does comment here, it will demonstrate that the latest internet technology joins people up even though they don’t know each other and they are operating in different places. Will it work… how long will it take…? As the saying goes, watch this space.

Previous entries:

Thoughts on the new ruralnet|online – Part 1 (of many!)

* Listen to Jack’s account of the Dunwick Dynamo if you’re into intersting cycling challenges

This entry was posted in Homepage, Rural, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Calling Jack Thurston

  1. Hi Simon,
    I guess it didn’t take long… The dashboard of my WordPress-powered website http://www.thebikeshow.net has a panel indicating of ‘recent incoming links’, which I think is sourced from http://www.technorati.com. I tend to take a look at these now and again, to see what people are saying about the show. Listener feedback is really helpful as I try to improve the show.
    So you did a good job of unearthing various of my activities (at least those with a footprint on the web, or should that be webprint). Today it’s almost impossible to separate several different lines of work into distinct boxes and identities – and, ultimately, why should anyone want to.
    As it happens, the cycling connection often proves to be very potent as an offline social networking activity. Ken Cook, who runs the original (US) version of the farm subsidy database (http://ewg.org/farm) is a keen cyclist and we’ve developed a friendship as much based on that as on agriculture policy and FOI. More often than not, the wheel turns full circle.
    Jack

  2. Simon says:

    Thanks Jack – the speed of response even surprised me! Thanks for playing the game and helping me prove a point.
    I look forward to our ‘real’ paths crossing at some time in the future.
    With best wishes
    Simon
    17/02/2008

  3. jon says:

    Simon,
    Just checking in. I learned about your post (and the previous post) within hours through technorati.
    Like Jack, I like to keep abreast of who is listening and what they find interesting. Interestingly, I only find fans this way. In the echo chamber of the blogosphere its hard to find any critics which would be useful.
    Of course, I already know Jack, who actually looked me up when he was in town a few years back. We had a great face to face conversation over beer about the world of bike radio.
    Scott Alumbaugh ended his “bike talk” show a few years ago. The fact that his name still comes up on LastFM is a testament to the reality of the “long tail.”
    I’m setting up a profile on LastFM now!
    -jon

  4. Paul Webster says:

    Brilliant experiment Simon !
    Seen Paul H’s blog on this too so will leave a comment over … my thoughts here are this was a brilliant experiment, my thought over there are more to do with the Ruralnet web evolution.

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