Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cute Cat Theory

Was reading about China and Google today over at CNET and came across this:

Contrary to the perception in the U.S. that Chinese citizens are clamoring for subversive information, Internet users there tend to be more interested in general information and entertainment--much like Web surfers in the U.S., according to Roberts.

Citing what he called the "cute cat theory," Roberts said Internet users in China are more interested in videos of cats flushing toilets than they are in reading political diatribes. "At the end of the day, the social uses of the Internet are bigger drivers than political and controversial news content," he said.

So I ran a search on CCT and came up with less that people are more interested in cute cats than in politics (which is true), but rather that the same tools to say O Hai to your pals will also be used for subversive/activist/political communications. Seems that a fella named Ethan Zuckerman came up with this theory waaaay back in '08, and you can read it here:

A couple of quotes I liked:

It’s fine to build tools for activists, but even better to build tools for folks who don’t know they’re activists yet.


With web 2.0, we’ve embraced the idea that people are going to share pictures of their cats, and now we build sophisticated tools to make that easier to do. As a result, we’re creating a wealth of tech that’s extremely helpful for activists.

Anyways, apologies for those already down with the CCT, and two years on the internet is like a million years, I know, but hey.