v6.2.3 - moving along, a point increase at a time

The power of the network - random thoughts

I was listening to Leo Laporte on Twit the other day and he and Robert Scoble were talking about how great Twitter is (all hacking of the twitter homepage aside) when trying to find some information. You just throw out your query into the twittersphere (is that even a word?) and your followers will answer it.

Well, this might work for celebrities, but does it work the the average-joe-twitterer? For instance, let's say that Laporte follows over 10,000 (I can't check right this moment because of the twitter hack), this means that his query goes out to 10,000. If they retweet it, goes out to even more! Conversely I only follow about 100, and about 60 follow me. That's how I like it - I don't want my stream going by at the speed of light or populating with hundreds of posts every few minutes. That's just too much information for me.

The idea behind throwing the question out and just getting an answer is a bit troubling to me on two fronts:

First, there appears to be an economical inequity out there. If I am following tens of thousands of people, can I really repay the favors that they have given me by answering some of their questions? After all, this type of Q&A revolves around a knowledge based, and to some extend reputation based, economy. I give an answer, I get an answer. Perhaps not right away, but somewhere down the road in a Karma sense. If I am getting answers, at some point I have to give answers.

Secondly, what does this posing a question to the crowd and getting an answer entail for our own research skills? I've heard the expression "time is money", so if you can get the answer in 10 minutes from the crowd compared to 30 searching for it yourself, why spend 30? right? Of course, you do need to be able to search for it yourself - if there aren't people out there who have searched for the info at one point or another the whole system of referrals for Q&A will break down (or so it seems to me).

What do you think about it? Have you gotten answers by crowd sourcing your answer? Do you think this answer is reliable?
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