The Wisdom of the Social Media Crowd

February 14, 2010

In his blog post A Story Culture, Michael Lopp, author of Managing Humans (check out the book’s great promotional website), used the intriguing phrase “connective information tissue” to describe the value of tweets (status messages sent via Twitter).


Information Hierarchy

Challenged by his editor to better understand what information is, Lopp starts with the definition of the Information Hierarchy provided by Ray R. Larson at Berkeley:

  • Data – The raw material of information
  • Information – Data organized and presented by someone
  • Knowledge – Information read, heard or seen and understood
  • Wisdom – Distilled and integrated knowledge and understanding

Lopp then examines how information ascends this hierarchy using the perennial vehicle designed for its transmission—the story.


Shattered bits of narrative

“The traditional narrative,” explains Lopp, “has been shattered into bits of well-indexed information.  Google wasn’t the first indexing tool, but it’s certainly the best.  Still, Google is powerfully dumb.  Yes, I can find whatever piece of information I’m looking for, but