Relying on our networks to decide what is interesting
This Duncan Watts article has been cited by a number of people in my reading circle. The general topic is on how and why popular culture "hits" and "misses" happen. The thing that jumped out to me was the comment about how people don't make decisions independently.
But people almost never make decisions independently — in part because the world abounds with so many choices that we have little hope of ever finding what we want on our own; in part because we are never really sure what we want anyway; and in part because what we often want is not so much to experience the “best” of everything as it is to experience the same things as other people and thereby also experience the benefits of sharing.
This sounds an awful lot like what we talk about in relation to blogs and aggregators. There is too much information in the world for any one person to consume. Reading blogs enables me to get a filtered view on "what's interesting," such as this article.
The other thing I noticed was that the general discussion in the article sounds a lot like the discussion of innovation. Many interesting idea never go anywhere, and then there is the one or two wonderful successes. And it is nearly impossible to determine which of the ideas will be the hit before you spend some time doing something with it. The same holds for popular culture: there are a lot of duds before a David Bowie or Justin Timberlake appears. More like David, please!
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