Social software myths exploded

People scoff at the "wisdom of crowds" theory, articulated so well by James Surowiecki, probably because they’re mistaking it for the "consensus of crowds" which is a different thing altogether.

JP Rangaswami, with a hat tip to Kathy Sierra, has taken a few common assertions about social software and tells us why they are actually lies. The three are:

Lie 1: Social software causes groupthink and herd behaviour

Lie 2: Social software is full of inaccuracies and downright lies

Lie 3: Social software destroys privacy

To give a flavour, here’s one of the things he said about lie 2:

With MSM on the other hand, the lie is printed and continues to be an
archived lie. And while you may get a retraction or correction, it
tends to appear on page 32 sandwiched between dog shampoo ads and
undertaker recruitment campaigns.

Depending on the social software he’s talking about, that kind of lie can be dealt with in comments (blog and bulletin board) or by editing (wiki). Or, indeed, if it’s a real cause célèbre then the blogosphere can, and will, quickly amplify it.

Anyway, don’t listen to me, go and read the original.

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