Recently, a WordPress.com blog, Evoling Trends, was smacked with a ton of traffic from Digg and elsewhere. The resulting hulabalu is discussed in Diggs Biggest Flaw Discovered, and while there are a few exagerations, it speaks well of the “wisdom of crowds” mentality that often concerns me with “Web 2.0″ thinking.
The bigger problem, however, and what I believe to be the deadliest flaw in the digg model is the concept of the wisdom of crowds.
Crowds are not wise. Crowds are great as part of a statistical process to determine the perceived numerical value of something that can be quantified. A crowd, in other words, is a decent calculator of subjective quantity, but still just a calculator. You can show a crowd of 200 people a jar filled with jelly beans and ask each how many jelly beans are in the jar. Then you can take the average and that would be the closest value to the actual number of jelly beans.
However, if you were to ask a crowd of 200 million to evaluate taste or beauty or whatever subjective quality, e.g. coolness, the same averaging process that helps in the case of counting jelly beans back fires in this scenario. Averaging in the case of evaluating a subjective quality means choosing the lowest common denominator.
Thus, in the case of evaluating the subjective quality of a post submitted to digg, the crowd has no wisdom: it will always choose the lowest common denominator, whatever that happens to be.
If you are seeking massive traffic attention, this is an article worth reading. If you are involved in social bookmarking and part of the “wise crowd”, I also recommend this post. It will give you plenty to think about as you choose your next popularity victim.
- Blogging With the Best of Digg on WordPress.com
- Talkdigger – Who is Talking About Your Blog?
- Adding Del.icio.us, Digg, Technorati and Slashdot Links to Your WordPress Blog
- Digg Map for Digg Users
- Digg Gets Major Financial Investors
- Getting Dug with Digg Can Sting
- Social Bookmarking Managers – And the Winner Is?
- Adding Post to Spurl Button on Your WordPress Posts
- Benefits of Using Furl and Del.icio.us Together for Research
- Digging Into Digg – What’s Behind the Curtain
- New Toys for Digg Fans
- Getting the Most Out of Digg Traffic Explored
- You, Too, Can Get to the Top in Del.icio.us Most Popular Posts
- Oh, The Joy of Being Slashdotted and Dugg
- Give a Wink and a Smile
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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network