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The folly of the crowds

Gene Expression
By Razib Khan
Oct 10, 2010 11:52 PMNov 20, 2019 1:07 AM


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With the big hullabaloo around The Social Network I've been reflecting a bit about my incorrect intuition since ~2008 that the Facebook bubble would burst at any moment. The bubble may still burst, or a new competitor may come out of the blue, or Google might actually release a comparable offering, but Facebook is still surfing on the crest of victory (which may be a sign that it has "peaked"). But along the way I stumbled onto this article about the marginalization of Digg:

According to Quantcast, an online audience measurement firm, Digg’s domestic traffic has dropped sharply in recent months, from 27.1 million unique users in April to 13.7 million in July. By contrast, Facebook had 145.2 million domestic users in June, according to comScore. While not giving specifics, Mr. Desai of Digg attributes the decline in domestic traffic to changes in Google’s search function that resulted in fewer Digg stories showing up in Google searches.

When the rate of change goes into negative territory in the USA you're on the way to becoming Friendster (big in Asia) or Orkut (big in Brazil). Here's the issue:

Digg executives say the redesign, which has been plagued by technical glitches, is less about limiting power users than it is a response to consumers’ desire for customized content. Keval Desai, vice president for product management at Digg, says that people surveyed by the company loved the site’s wisdom-of-crowds ethos but that they also said, “I want to add something curated from my own crowd.”

I appreciate the readers who submit the stories from this weblog to Reddit, but looking at the comments on the posts it is often shocking how lacking in intelligence or discernment most people on the internet are (or, perhaps they choose not to manifest intelligence and discernment on the internet). In contrast, the core cluster of blogs which I read, people who I allow on Google Reader to recommend links, etc., are narrowed to those who I judge to be intelligent, and whose discernment is aligned with my own.

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