James Governor's Monkchips

is attenuation a useful term for filtering, alongside aggregation?

Share via Twitter Share via Facebook Share via Linkedin Share via Reddit


hey rael i absolutely agree about the trend towards community-based recommendation and content filtering for topic-based search, in which o’reilly is doing great work as usual. but “attenuation” – is kind of geeky isn’t it?

Rolly’s basic premise is one I’ve been preaching of late: attenuation is the next aggregation — one of the themes of the 2006 edition of The O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference (aka ETech). While most social software efforts are additive in nature (Orkut allowed me to walk into a room populated by all n people I’ve ever met, thought I’d met, or been convinced I’d met along with everyone they’ve ever met, thought they’ve met, …) and so don’t particularly reflect real life–or realistic use, mind. Personal brands (although I’ve always disliked the term) are very real: when it comes ot search, Battelle’s my guide; for PR and marketing, Godin had me at “Purple”.

Normal people can understand aggregation. but attenuation is something else entirely. its bad enough the geek classes talk about signal to noise and expect people to understand them, without introducing five syllable technical words to mean “filtering”. I like language evolution and reuse, and science constantly informs the English language, but might it be worth thinking about something linguistically stickier?

my recommendation is to keep it simple – “filtering”? 

One comment

  1. What’s more it’s the *wrong* five-syllable word!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *