I read an interesting article today about reputation management.
"To form an opinion based on reading Epinions or Slashdot takes a lot more work than soaking up a newspaper headline or drooling in front of the six o'clock news. On Epinions you have to read the various reviews and weigh them against each other. On Slashdot one has to read the original article, and think, or at least wade through the posts.
The consequence is that mainstream media still dominates public opinion – and reputation molding – because it is brief, consistent, and seemingly coherent. It's the difference between a floodlight and a laser. The floodlight may illuminate more broadly, but the coherent, parallel light of a laser punches through steel.
The chaos of the bazaar may spread a meme – but not a consistent image. The online medium (or protocol, or social model) that defines reputation will not be as narrow as a laser beam. Yet it must have the attribute that moves mountains: the convergence of opinion.
One might hope that such a convergence leads on to the amplification of intelligence, rather than mere herd behavior, and lifts humanity to a new level of reasoning."
High hopes for the web. I don't think that the American public wants to read or think. It seems like they'd much rather have an opinion spood-fed to them, presumably by The Media.
But I guess one can hope...