Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
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Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Put Your 2.0 Where Your Mouth Is

In case you didn't notice, 2.0 is about to undergo a pretty severe test.

Michelle Malkin is about to begin using Digg as a political tool - a bullhorn with the reach of continents, if you follow my drift.

Now, that's perfectly fine. Even though I think it couldn't be more obvious that Malkin's bloodthirsty racist persona is just a means to the end of making $$, which is, in fact, what's truly bilious from a moral point of view, of course, many disagree.

The point is that we're about see the wisdom of crowds tested against the madness of the mob in real-time.

By this, I don't mean that people on the far right are insane (ok, maybe just a lil). What I mean is that, like most day-traders, they are going to be purely irrational (ie, Malkinintes don't exactly want Digg-style conversation, they want to basically tell you who's boss). The result is that volatility will be amplified, etc, etc.

This kind of tug of war happens everyday in financial markets - but it really hasn't happened in media yet. This is a big test, imho. If relatively normal people can share intellectual (market) space with cretinous Malkinite thugs, 2.0 is more powerful than even I guessed.

In fact, I predicted markets fragmenting into micromarkets - one for each niche - exactly because vol would be amplified (paradoxically) in participants. So, let's see which effect dominates - madness/contagion or wisdom/efficiency. Something to keep your eye on.

-- umair // 12:56 PM // 2 comments


IMO madness always wins, unless you can find a way to keep the mad ones out. because in the end, it's all about who cares the most, and the mad ones, overcome by irrationality, care more. i'd even argue madness allows you to and causes you to care more. wisdom/efficiency, for better or worse, does no such thing.

i dont think the 2.0 digg style sites can work unless there is a concerted effort to keep madness/stupidity out. IMO the ideal method to do this is with the right incentive system, although i haven't seen that formula nailed just yet.
// Anonymous kid mercury // 2:34 PM

Very, very interesting topic.

Here's something I wrote a year or so ago.

The right instinctively understand how mobs (and markets) work. And they're experts in both using them and abusing them.

But now I'm wondering if we can also put the information aggregating and accountability enforcing properties of prediction markets to work to address this problem.
// Blogger phil jones // 4:27 PM
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