Bobbie takes a hit…

Wisdom of Crowds

Following a post he wrote on Saturday marking 10 years of blogging, Bobbie Johnson has come under a bit of fire from blogging peers, namely, an Australian MySpace’r called Cissy.

Illustrating perfectly the democratising effect of the blogosphere, Bobbie makes a particularly strong observation:

…Cissy’s comments, to me, lay bare the echo chamber of blogging, and the circle jerk of people who simply validate each other’s opinions. It happens everywhere, but it’s dangerous. And I think it is one of the greatest cultural dilemmas that the internet shows us.

Thanks to the internet’s democratising effect, we have given people an unprecedented ability to challenge their own beliefs. And yet – by and large – they choose to talk to facsimiles of themselves.

How do you square that circle?

Give individuals the opportunity and forum to voice their opinions and they will, invariably offering unique and insightful comment.  

But the blogosphere is at a point of saturation where individual opinions are rarely unique; the real influence, it’s strength and potency, comes from its mass – the wisdom of crowds

Bobbie’s right, it could be dangerous. Certain ideas, issues or beliefs could snowball out of control, generating critical mass online. But I’d suggest the self-regulating nature of the blogosphere will always prevent this from happening.

Regardless of peer-validation, the breadth and volume of conflicting opinion should dilute anything particularly extreme.  

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