The Wisdom or Folly of Crowds?

By Jason Boog Comment

Picture_6.gifMusic journalist Chris Weingarten (1000TimesYes on Twitter) stirred up the 140 Characters conference yesterday, bucking the idea that popular opinion on the Internet can effectively curate books and music in the 21st Century. GalleyCat missed the festivities, but followed along on Twitter.

“Crowdsourcing killed punk rock” Weingarten said, arguing that large groups have no taste–generating an stream of Twitter responses. A number of Twitter critics rejected his ideas: “Somewhere @1000TimesYes is turning over in his soon-to-be grave” tweeted social media expert J.D. Lasica. UPDATE from Lasica: “Actually, I think Weingarten has a point. When applied to music or art, democratic tastes result in Mariah Carey and David Hockney. My quote was referring to the insipid, poppish music being played on stage. Weingarten apparently survived the performance, but his point is well taken.”

Music editor J. T. Ramsay grumbled: “I really hope someone came away from @1000TimesYes presentation thinking he’s a stinking elitist.”

Just yesterday GalleyCat reported on a book review site that lets 63,000 Internet users critique and recommend books, one hope for the future of book reviews. What do you think? Will the Internet preserve or destroy literary taste?