Wisdom of Crowds

A Visual Explanation of Web 2.0

Kansas State University‘s Digital Ethnography group — “a working group of Kansas State University students and faculty dedicated to exploring and extending the possibilities of digital ethnography” — posted this visual explanation of Web 2.0. It’s by Michael Wesh, assistant professor of cultural anthropology, and it rocks.

Text is unilinear…when written on paper.

Digital text is different.

Hypertext can link.

With form seperated from content, users did not need to know complicated code to upload content to the web.

Who will organize all of this data? We will. You will.

Digital text is not longer just linking information…Web 2.0 is linking people…people sharing, trading, and collaborating.

We’ll need to rethink a few things…

Thanks to the Google Operating System blog for bringing this to my attention.

The Ignorant Perfection of Ordinary People

Bob Garlitz, who’s trying to decide between blogging at Typepad and Blogspot, wrote to offer a somewhat older phrase for the success of social software as described in The Wisdom of Crowds and in the definition of collabulary: “the ignorant perfection of ordinary people.”

Bob is at a loss to identify the source (and it pre-dates the book of the same title by a long shot), but maybe this crowd will know?

Nature Concludes Wikipedia Not Bad

Fresh from Nature: a peer reveiw comparison of Wikipedia’s science coverage against Encyclopaedia Britannica:

One of the extraordinary stories of the Internet age is that of Wikipedia, a free online encyclopaedia that anyone can edit. This radical and rapidly growing publication, which includes close to 4 million entries, is now a much-used resource. But it is also controversial: if anyone can edit entries, how do users know if Wikipedia is as accurate as established sources such as Encyclopaedia Britannica?

Several recent cases have highlighted the potential problems. One article was revealed as falsely suggesting that a former assistant to US Senator Robert Kennedy may have been involved in his assassination. And podcasting pioneer Adam Curry has been accused of editing the entry on podcasting to remove references to competitors’ work. Curry says he merely thought he was making the entry more accurate.

However, an expert-led investigation carried out by Nature — the first to use peer review to compare Wikipedia and Britannica’s coverage of science — suggests that such high-profile examples are the exception rather than the rule. (link added)

Go read the whole story.