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Testing the General Theory of Relativity and Locating the Chasm

Posted by Bob Warfield on April 11, 2008

The physics world loves to test its theories to the furthest edges of the envelope.  One reads about elaborate experiments to push things out one more decimal place.

I’m no Einstein, but I did just see an opportunity to add insight to my theory that the Chasm Has Moved.  Briefly, that theory says that the old Early Adopter Market has been made much bigger by the Internet, but that a lot of the behaviour we see on our beloved ‘Net is just that: Early Adopter Behaviour.  The Chasm still exists, but it has moved further to the right.

Here is one opportunity to test, albeit one we won’t be able to apply until we know who our next President is.  Matt Pace of Compete writes of Obama v. Clinton that despite what the pundits say, the race isn’t even close, and TechCrunch picks up on that refrain.  By every measure the web offers, or at least by the measures of Face Time Compete can generate, it appears that Obama will win.

What does that have to do with the Chasm? 

Compete is measuring what it calls “Face Time” to make the prediction.  Face Time is the amount of time spent with each candidate across several leading social networks and media sites (Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, MeetUp, YouTube).   That measurement is going to be focused exactly on my broader Left given what web properties are being looked at.  If we had a broader measure, perhaps all searching on the net, it would be different.

Assuming no candidate does anything to catastrophically impact the results, and assuming McCain isn’t elected, there are a two outcomes:

–  Obama wins.  This would indicate that the web is a more accurate indicator than traditional measures.  I believe that means the Chasm moves right, and the early adopters are now a more powerful force than they once were.  These are the people Compete measures using the latest greatest web offerings.

–  Clinton wins.  This is the big upset.  The web says Obama, but the voters say Clinton.  That would say to me the web is primarily measuring to the left of the Chasm but the world is still run from the right.  The Chasm is right where it ever was and there aren’t enough to the left of it to make the difference.

As in so many of these experiments, much is subject to interpretation, but it will be interesting to watch!


3 Responses to “Testing the General Theory of Relativity and Locating the Chasm”

  1. Maybe we already saw this with Lieberman? All the smart, in-crowd knew that he was doomed, but they forgot that most voters have never heard of Kos et al.

    More people voted for the American Idol than the American President. How many Twitters, Faces, Bloggers, and WebHipsters even watch American Idol? Follow the numbers!

    So much time on the Internet is spent looking at the Internet, it has become a sort of caricature. While trends are real, the key to Moore’s original definition of Early Adopters is that there are too few of them to make a living from, (or to win an election with).

    But I might be wrong…

  2. smoothspan said

    Your idea is excellent, Steve. Bring up and compare traffic on with and If the American Idol audience doesn’t have huge overlap with these two, I would be surprised. That argues to me again that the Chasm has moved.

    I don’t think the key to Moore’s definition is to pick the point that results in too few Early Adopters to make a business. That’s begging the question. The point is there are two audiences that behave differently and that have definite characteristics that companies have to be aware of when creating products and selling. My point is that the Internet has made more people Early Adopters than used to be the case. Perhaps even enough more that you can make certain kinds of businesses from them.

  3. rolandhesz said

    Or, the victory of either side can mean, that – as several blogs and websites and security experts point out, – the inherently insecure, hackable electric voting machines have been hacked and we got a totally irrelevant result.
    Irrelevant, as in measuring the accuracy of the web vs the offline.
    Relevant in every other sense of course.

    Your point is still valid, but as we know, for power, people can do everything.

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