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Posts Tagged ‘walter lippmann’

Don’t Get the Point of Twitter? Good – I Don’t Want you to

March 31, 2011 6 comments

Keep the Bewildered Herd off Twitter

PR legend Walter Lippmann once wrote in his seminal book Public Opinion:

“The public must be put in its place, so that it may exercise its own powers, but no less and perhaps even more, so that each of us may live free of the trampling and the roar of a bewildered herd.”

The people who don’t understand Twitter (or social media in general) are members of the bewildered herd, and I hope they stay off Twitter.

If you don’t understand the value of ubiquitous access to a hive mind that can put you in contact with experts, celebrities, public officials, news agencies, and your best friends – I implore you to stay off Twitter.  Here’s why:

  • While you’re holding on the phone for customer service, listing to a muzak rendition of Rebecca Black’s “Friday” and trying not to put a gun in your mouth, I’m getting a real-time response from the same company’s social media response team.
  • While you’re banging your head against your keyboard trying to come up with a list of recommendations for products or services for a project you’re working on, I’m pulling in great options from a panel of experts through a hashtag-enabled chat.
  • While you’re staring blankly at a Youtube video wondering what it means, I’m swimming in a sea of memes that enrich my grasp of the culture around me.
  • While you’re searching the classified ads for jobs, I’m networking with professionals across the country (and around the world) that I can tap into for assistance (all of whom have a chance to measure my contributions online through their interactions with me).

If the bewildered herd migrates to Twitter, it’ll be dumbed down and us early adopters will have to find another secret enclave to retreat to so that we can stay 140 characters ahead of you.

So thank you for being ignorant, and please – carry on.

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Online Reputation Management for Crowd-Sourcing Platforms: Cleaning up After the “Bewildered Herd”

September 3, 2010 2 comments

As the Web 2.0 model has shifted to content being generated by users (often referred to as “crowdsourcing”) as opposed to administrators, it’s presented a somewhat novel problem of proofing the contributions of the masses.

The “Bewildered Herd” is a term attributed to Walter Lippmann who is one of the early scholars of journalism and public relations.  Lippmann’s contention was that the public was essentially too inept to govern itself and needed to have smart people make up its mind for it in order for society to function.  To wit:

“The public must be put in its place, so that it may exercise its own powers, but no less and perhaps even more, so that each of us may live free of the trampling and the roar of a bewildered herd.”
(Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion, 1922)

Crowdsourcing (originated by Jeff Howe of Wired) is explained by Clay Shirky below:

On the whole, user-generated contributions are amazingly effective and have accomplished a powerful amount of the work in building the Internet.  There are, though, occasionally problems.  Here are some of the sites I try to watch regularly for inaccuracies and misinformation:

Which crowdsourcing sites do you monitor for inaccuracies?

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