In the Feburary 2003 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology is a little suntin-suntin’ which might be worth looking over:
““The Minority Slowness Effect: Subtle Inhibitions in the Expression of Views Not Shared by Others”
Five studies revealed that people who hold the minority opinion express that opinion less quickly than people who hold the majority opinion. The difference in speed in the expression of the minority and majority opinions grew as the difference in the size of the minority and majority grew. Also, those with the minority view were particularly slow when they assumed the majority to be large, whereas the opposite was true for those with the majority view. The minority slowness effect was not found to be linked to attitude strength, nor was it influenced by anticipated public disclosure of the attitude.”
Slowness in systems is something I’ve been trying to think about for a while, and recent reflection on not-so-smartmobs has reminded me of this. Thing is, nearly everything webby I’ve ever worked on has tried to be as quick, fast, easy and responsive as possible.
The ethnography we had done showed that the processes we are trying to support with our system can typically be ongoing for 2-5 years I.R.L.; and stuff like Robert Axelrod’s “The evolution of cooperation” points to the role of slowness and turn-based systems in reaching concensus-based change [like waiting 4 years before being able to vote for a government… heheh]
Trying to think of networked online systems that are ‘slow’, and so far all I can think of are distributed computing things like Seti@home, or Phil’s Pepysdiary.com. The latter is not so much ‘slow’, but long, if you see what I mean.