March 26th, 2006
If accurate news and information were a sausage, reading tech.memeorandum this weekend would be like watching it get made. “60% of Windows Vista Code Being Rewritten!” the headlines blared. No it’s not. What if it is? This can’t be true. What does it mean? Help!?!
It’s the those darned “non-credible journalists,” Scoble complains — and those good-for-nothing bloggers who link to them.
Well, that’s what happens when the “community” is in charge of the facts.
Blogosphere idealists will point out that the wisdom of the crowds is self-correcting, and that the Windows rewrite story was ultimately discredited. But the story only needed to be discredited because so many bloggers linked to it and gave it credibility in the first place!
If you Google News “60% vista code rewrite” you’ll find the story didn’t get any play outside the geekosphere.
I certainly won’t suggest that we should go back to days of cloistered newsrooms where control of the facts was in the hands of a few. As Umair points out, the undoing of Ben Domenech is an example of the positive power of the “snowball effect” that the blogosphere, i.e. the “edge” can create.
But as power shifts to edge, it’s a decidedly messy affair, because too many edge players are focused on their empowerment and not on the responsibility that comes with that power. “Non-credible” sources will be weeded out, but more will take their place.
Consumers will ultimately benefit from greater access to more varied and more accurate information, but they will be witness to the ugly process of the truth being made.