SXSW 2009 Notes: Designing for Wisdom of the CrowdsDerek Powazek spoke on Designing for Wisdom of the Crowds at SXSW Interactive 2009. He graciously posted the full slides. It also turns out that Derek works for HP's MagCloud, a magazine publishing site. Here are my takeaways from his talk.
Wisdom of the Crowds began with Francis Galton. He observed a contest in which people had to guess the weight of a cow. Their individual guesses were off, but the average guess was 1209 pounds, and the actual weight was 1198, less than 1% off.
The question is how to apply wisdom of the crowds to create better community online. When you see web forums, you see lots of stupidity. But when you looked at the most emailed stories on a news site, what the crowd is telling you are the most interesting stories, the crowd is doing an effective job picking stories.