Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

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Good and bad of outsourcing to “miscellaneous”

July 18th, 2007 · 2 Comments

Crowdsourcing” is the brand-newest bizbuzzword–replacing its much unloved sibling “user-generated content.” Is it the best thing since build-your-own-sundaes–or a sinister cult that threatens civilization?

Well, any bizbuzzword is born to be treated in soundbites, and I’ve got one for you–thanks to Jay Rosen (whom I met at the 2003 (first) BloggerCon) just posted one that has real information content, quoting James Surowiecki:

…collective wisdom is a good way of coming up with an answer when there is a right or wrong answer (in a kind of Platonic sense)…
I’m not sure, though, that the same can be said about a question like: Which movie is better? There may be no Platonic truth of aesthetics…

So crowdsourcing might be good for some things, not so good for others? Bzzt–I don’t think that answer’s going to please either camp.

Bonus miscellanea–One of many favorite David Weinberger quotes, from Bloggercon 2003 years before Everything is Miscellaneous: “Is it the opinion of the panel that weblogging is a life skill, and everyone should learn it? Or is it like singing, that not everybody should do it in public?”

Tags: everythingismiscellaneous

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jasonliebman // Jul 18, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    In today’s Wall Street Journal “Reply All” section tech heavyweights David Weinberger, author of Everything Is Miscellaneous> goes head to head with Andrew Keen, author of The Cult of the Amateur in an intellectual fight for the ages. This battle, which took place through many grueling rounds of emails, debates whether Web 2.0 and the ability for everyone to become a journalist, filmmaker or musician is a positive or negative for information available on the internet.

    The full text can be found at or a condensed “highlights” version can be found here.

  • 2 Betsy Devine // Jul 18, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks, Jason–it’s interesting that Weinberger and Keen agree to disagree with half of what Surowiecki says here.

    That is, W & K both want their facts vetted by experts.

    They also agree that “the mob” has bad taste in half-starved celebrity starlets, an observation that seems to infuse Keen’s thinking and writing about every other internet-based phenomenon. Weinberger instead is delighted by the variety of long-tail tastemakers, who make it possible to find brand-new great stuff.

    I sometimes criticize Weinberger’s POV as a little too rosy on WEb 2.0, but in this argument he well worth rooting for.

    And for a sweet-natured vegetarian fan of John Lennon, he lands some hard solid punches on Andrew Keen’s book.