Tuesday, January 22, 2008

User Filtered Content is great!

Sunday I was trying to make sense of a remark Marcel de Ruiter made when we met last November. He said that having a social network was a great way to filter out important information. On sunday I did not get my thoughts right but today I saw a post on User Filtered Content from Ross Dawson and everything made sense!

Besides all the automatic or semi automatic filtering options Andrew Mcafee describes in SLATES a completely human filtering option is a great asset to the bundle. When to take into account who is liking what, you get a far better view of information. Example: I follow a few people on Twitter because I think they are interesting for me and I find links to conferences I did not hear about from another source. Delicious is another fine example. I follow my collegue Vincent amongst others. I can see his links and evaluate if they are relevant for me to. Almost all his links are relevant for me and thus he is one of my filters on information.

This way of filtering gets far better results than a search on google, a search on google is not filtered for what my friends or coworkers like! Extensions like Amazon delivers to me are from everybody in the world. Amazon supposes that if I read a book and most people also buy another book I might be interested. This would be more accurate if this is corrected for the people with the same interests. These people will be in social networks!

The reason this works lies in the meritocracy principles of the internet. On the internet we give more credits to people how say and do smart stuff than to people how only talk about saying and doing smart stuff. The people who get more merits from a person will be a great filter. The giving of merits is very personal. Vincent my coworker can get more merits than a professor in college.

Conclusion is the UFC is a great filter to have on information. The more people you 'use' as a filter the better. UFC must always be used in combination with other filters so the information that gets through the filters is of higher quality. To prevent a kind of groupthink you should sometimes get rid of all the filters and just surf around a bit! This gets you fresh ideas and another look at the world.

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