The whole wisdom of the crowd’s concept I buy into, but with one very important proviso; I personally believe you can only trust the result when it has been tested and refined by debate. Not quite sure who said this profound point but the best one liner on this says; ‘When everything else has been eliminated what remains must be the truth’.
And in this remark lies the basic reasoning for collaboration, or should I say new world community style interactivity that Web 2.0 permits rather than traditional forms of structured collaboration tools that are often found inside enterprises. If the right people can get together, and have the right discussion, around the available information, – please notice I did not say facts – then hopefully the best version of ‘the truth’ will emerge.
Actually it probably isn’t going to be about facts, because the challenge today is the web doesn’t actually help us separate fact from opinion. We have more, much more, to take onboard when considering any topic, reacting to an event, etc., but at the same time we have less certainty about the ‘quality’ of the information we have access to. To put it another way; if you want to check the quality of information available to you through the web try googling yourself. Do you reckon the information that you find is a true reflection of yourself? Probably the best you would own up to is that it represents a snap shot of yourself provided through what you decided to make public through your participation in different activities, but not what your deep seated personal convictions might be.
The one liner on googling yourself to determine the accuracy of the web comes from a website where there is a whole section devoted to ‘debunking popular statements’. On a page described as a linkfest of debunking you can find a whole series of links covering a lot of popular topics starting with the Long Tail. Now holding the views I do about lively debate and wider interaction to add value and ultimately help define the best version of the ‘truth’ you can imagine I thought that I was onto something good here.
Maybe I am, but a wider look around convincing me that the work to find the good stuff amongst some pretty wild stuff isn’t worth the effect of adding this to my regular reading. And there is my point. I am as guilty as anyone else in choosing what I read, and in newspaper circles they know this. They are well aware that we choose the paper that reflects our views, and will report in a way that we feel aligned to, unfortunately that also means we self-censure the actual inputs to our internal debate to create an opinion on the ‘truth’ as we see it.
It does make me wonder if in selecting sources and blogs I am really doing such a good job as I pride myself on, or if I need to accept being challenged, and made uncomfortable, a little more so I can at least grasp the other views that are in existence.