Does the social web enable me to find more unique information or just more of the same?

The video Information R/Evolution and the post From The Information Age To The Connected Age are describing two trends of the social web.

The social web can enable users to more easily find the exact information they were searching. But if the scarce resource of the connected age is attention, then we are likely to see a surge of new ways of and tools for marketing and PR in the battle for audiences.

As producers of information and products learn how to use the social web to reach people, these same tools will be weakened in their function to facilitate access to the best information in favor of the loudest voice. How do we know that the loudest voice is the one we want to listen to? and if it tells us what we want to hear, why would we not listen or even go look for an alternative one?

Research debates have very similar problems: Big names are favored and have a lot of influence, newcomers and dissidents have to accept the supremacy of the established voices. But, do the big names always produce the best information? or did were they just lucky to have one great idea that made their reputation?

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2 Responses

  1. Hi, I think that is true, and I have the impression a lot of the social media text is written for marketeers – from a marketing point of view.

    However, I think people are also clever enough to distinguish genuine talk/ (think of blogs!) from other talk with the aim of promoting something. That’s why I say you can market with your blog, but you shouldn’t start a blog for marketing purposes.

    But maybe the boundary gets more blurred?

  2. Joitske, you are right that people do know to differentiate based on quality.

    What proves to be diffcult is to get our colleagues to seek out these resources. Instead they only hear/ read about the things that make it into the mainstream media; usually the loudest – not necessarily bad but only a glimpse of the discussion going on online.

    A big hurdle to engagement seems to be that many of them are not ready to invest the time needed to change the way they search for and share information, plus not many of their peers are active online.

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