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Two's crowd wisdom, three's just a crowd

When you go online to look up a product and research what people are saying about it, how much can you trust those ratings and reviews? In short, "can you trust crowd wisdom?"

That's the question Kristina Grifantini posed in her article on My.TechnologyReview.com yesterday. She goes on to explore the possible distortion of online ratings and reviews, citing a study by Vassilis Kostakos, an assistant professor at the University of Madeira in Portugal and adjunct assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He found a small number of users were responsible for providing a large number of ratings. For example, only 5 percent of active Amazon users cast votes on more than 10 products.

After reading this though, I think the conversation needs to be different when we are talking about social networks within an organization’s firewall. In that instance, it’s not about trusting the crowd’s wisdom. Rather, it's about managing the community by knowing whose input should be trusted, along with managing and moderating the community. This must all be done in the context of how the community relates to business initiatives and the information assets of the organization.

That's where the social volume knob comes into play to moderate who has what capabilities and can provide what content. We've drilled into this on the blog in the past, and I elaborated more in my comment.

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