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!