Nick Carr: Netscape’s junk drawer

Following up on what I wrote yesterday about Digg, Nick Carr posts about the launch of the new Netscape Diggalike, in Netscape’s junk drawer:

There’s just one problem. Normal people seem to think the entire concept is ludicrous. Wrote one: “I don’t want other people voting on what I should read first. I want to see major national news stories and then, if I want to know about entertainment or sports or whatever, I can click a link … This new format is awful. What if the New York Times decided to have readers vote on where things should be placed in the paper? What a disaster. If this is how it will be from now on, I’m changing my homepage.” Richard McManus sums up the situation in a post titled Netscape Community Backlash: “There appears to be a genuine feeling of betrayal by the (very large) set of users who have had Netscape.com as their homepage for some time.”

Nick is, of course, completely right. Consensus doesn’t equate to quality. Why this simple and obvious fact is beyond the proponents of this particular strand of social media I have no idea – they’re generally pretty smart people.

  • Nick S

    Has there ever been a detailed study of online bandwagonnery? Things like: at what point does a link become linked because others are linking to it, and at what point do those links make it into the newswires or into other media? Consensus breeds consensus, and creates ubiquity in lieu of quality. And I don’t know how to get around that, other than to say at some point people only ‘digg’ something for the sake of digging.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/fabius/ Phil Gyford

    While I agree about the wisdom of crowds often being very, er, un-wise, I loved this quote: “I don’t want other people voting on what I should read first. I want to see major national news stories.” As if major news stories are some objective thing delivered to us from some greater power, rather than something decided on by a small number of people at the publication concerned. Basically, all our news is chosen for us by someone, but it’s the quality of the crowd that matters, not its size.