Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Machine Generated Culture vs. Editorial Perspective


Something hit me recently about the value of culture defined by google vs. blogs. Machine readable culture vs. editorial.

Which is better? Which do I (in the gestalt) trust more?

Ask yourself this: when you want to form an opinion about something, your very own personal opinion, what do you do? Do you go Google and search or do you read blogs written by individuals you trust or, at the very least, are entertained by?

Google is the collective mind. The wisdom of crowds. The value of results computed by the sum total of links to the highly rated hits.. machine generated from the internet.

Blogs are individual voices from specific minds of people you know (or know of through their blogs). Many are deep experts in areas that you might be interested in. Some are just plain smart and interesting to read.

I do both, but I'm finding myself, more and more, searching for that individual voice (or voices) on particular topics, that I think has a ring of truth to it.

Of course, I often use Google to find these voices. The whole damn thing is circular as hell when you approach it that way.

Then, there's the personal recommendation thing. For instance, I like a couple of VC blogs. One from Brad Feld, a Colorado based VC and exceptionally straight shooter, damned smart and all around good guy. And a fellow named Fred Wilson in NYC.. same general description.

How did I find them? Through friends. Folks I trust telling me 'you've gotta read these guys blogs'. It helps to actually meet them as well (Brad, who's local to me, I've met and Fred's geographically a bit too far, so it's only been a bit of email).

It's funny though how I feel like I really know these guys. They're a part of my daily life. I subscribe to around 100 or so blogs and I read some percentage of them every day, Brad and Fred (along with 10 or so others) I ALWAYS read.

I read them more than I bother reading my $99 a year online Wall Street Journal. And in their specific area of expertise, I trust them (far) more than I do anything written in the Wall Street Journal or that I find through a Google search.

So... having thought this out via writing it down here, I think I have my answer: Blogs are 'more' real, from an informational trust point of view, than Google (or any other machine generated culture).

I love the gestalt.. the global mind. I have faith in the wisdom of crowds. But in the end, I TRUST individual minds like those owned by Brad and Fred.

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