A while ago I posted on Jay Rosen’s idea about collective intelligence. Jay notes that no single journalist can have greater expertise in any area than his collective audience over time. Here is the link. With that idea in my head, I started to notice how people use the web to build layers of collective intelligence. Here are two simple examples.
Example 1 - Fred Wilson does this all the time. Most recently, Fred was scheduled to give a presentation on how to be your own boss. So he posted this on his blog with a proposed slide show and he asked for ideas from his readers. Here is the link. Fred usually gets over 100 comments per day to his posts, so he was guaranteed to get some good suggestions. You might wonder how did Fred get to the point where he has over 100 comments a day. Well, that I suppose would be the topic of a follow up series of posts.
Example 2 - A few days ago, Sam Sifton reviewed a hotel bar/restaurant called Faustina in New York. In itself, this is not that unusual. But while doing so, Sam created a category of places that he called “hotelish” and he asked people what their favorite hotelish bars and restaurants are. And people started to think and respond. Voila, a list emerged. Here is a link to Sam’s article.
There are at least two larger points here. First, if the request for input generates good ideas, it also generates the possibility of building a new platform to follow up those ideas (ie - dar be gold in dem dar commentary). The new platform could become a sort of incubator for product development. For example, Seth Godin has already produced an ebook out of comments that he got using a similar technique. Second, as the influence of social media tools grows, we are likely to see a corresponding increase in the use of conversation threads rather that than just assertions of opinion and provision of information (like current newspapers). These will be much more nuanced than the threads one finds now in comments to blog posts or question and answer forums one finds in web platforms. Fred posted the other day on some of the current trends in managing commentary. Here is the link. After a while, we might even demand this of all our media, rejecting one way blah blah blah posts …. errr …. like this one.
Ok, here’s your chance …. so what do you think about that? Huh? I dare you ! Tell me I’m wrong. Come on! Bring it on! Oops. Sorry. Got a bit carried away there.
Stage direction - Polite cough, clear the throat.
As always, your comments are most welcome.