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Are You Getting Smarter or Just More Average on the Web?

Posted by Bob Warfield on March 17, 2008

Saw a little blurb on Discipline and Punishment:

The only cure for groupthink is diversity. Social news sites like digg and reddit are diversity-elimination machines so this boat has already sailed.

I’ve been saying this for a long time.  If you’re seeking out what the likes of Digg, Reddit, and Techmeme have identified as the “hot” items, you’re just making yourself more average.  You’re opting into group think, and I don’t mean the wisdom of crowds.  One of the key requirements for crowds to be wise is that they be independent.  A whole bunch of people on a service like reddit or Techmeme are just oscillating around the same meme feedback.  Very little new is being created there.

Isn’t that why you get a bunch of hits from one of those services but little lasting bump up in your ongoing traffic?  It’s just the lemmings looking for their next meme cliff to step off of.

If you want to get smarter on the web, look for new things that aren’t in those places.  Spend a few hours on Google deeply researching a topic you’re interested in.  Find some new sources for information.  Add some new feeds to your RSS reader.  You won’t be disappointed.

One Response to “Are You Getting Smarter or Just More Average on the Web?”

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