Serendipity in Web Economics

“Serendipity is the art of making an unsought finding.” Pek van Andel

The web economics allows a plethora of marketeers find buyers for their information rich product. This common ground with many interested aggregators of information ensures that the information travels to those who may not have subscribed to it . A Twitter follow ensures your followers to a supply of tweets and retweets. Even though information may be chosen and filtered , yet the amount of serendipity in it remains unmeasurable .Such as , facebook suggest friends based on common friends , interest or any other personal or professional information such as school, place of residence , employer etc . Similarly a Knowledge Base such as  a common discussion forum may suggest top discussion , recent discussion , answered post and several other permutation . Yet in the midst of this entire Knowledge management phenomena , the option for the readers to choose and answer the post remains questionable . Most importantly the option to use or share that information is purely serendipity. We emphasise this with the point that the individual is free not to answer . Replying may not earn an extra cookie or bring in any additional learning . In fact most of the time it may go unnoticed. Yet the individual makes a difference and uses  a motivation to reflect upon what have been read. This gradually emerges as a revolution which may bring recognition to many such contributors , but that reward is far fetched and completely vague in the beginning . Hence it is termed  as serendipity . As shared by Bonnie R. Beaver , ” Unexpected happenings are encouraged through a serendipitous, intuitive openness to possibilities. Although these efforts do not guarantee achieving the goal of each picture, fresh, exciting results are instigated whenever stepping off known paths.”

Every information that may cross our way stands to brighten us . But very few of them enlighten in spite of them being repeatedly shared. It may depends on the way and the medium that information have been shared. Such as the  logic behind an individual blogging about professional topic is to present his level of knowledge . The medium choosen to propogate further establish the web economics of reach and scope . The post may be shared on different platform such as Twitter, Linkedin , Facebook and etc , to popularise and market thoughts . Its likely that through these medium the individual may get many readers . Yet the number of readers commenting on the same is purely serendipity .

An Article written by MIT Media Lab, Serendipity was implemented as an application to’ facilitate dyadic interactions of two physically proximate people though an introduction situated in the immediate social context’. Interestingly they quantified the data from social networking and used it to connect individuals who were otherwise strangers. For eg , if an individual was in a coffee shop , based on its profile , the software could suggest others who were in that area with similar choices or information. A message would be sent on the mobile phone which allowed the receiver to choose to accept or decline the request. Though we agree on the logical calculation used by the software , the personal implementation remains purely a chance . The motivation on a human level is likely to reach a saturation point . But when this system exists beyond or without that , it is purely serendipity.

Ultimately , reflecting Henry David Thoreau ,” Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end, an end which it was already but too easy to arrive at; as railroads lead to Boston or New York. We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.” (Walden, 52)