The Wisdom of Crowds Is Not the Being-Wise-Enough-to-Know-When-to-Shut-Up Kind of Wisdom (or: Yeah, What IS Up With Keanu Reeves?)

A blog about politics, sports, media, stuff
Jan. 14 2011 3:33 PM

The Wisdom of Crowds Is Not the Being-Wise-Enough-to-Know-When-to-Shut-Up Kind of Wisdom (or: Yeah, What IS Up With Keanu Reeves?)

Twitter! Can we pause for a second and discuss something? Of course we can't. People are too busy insta-publishing the noise inside their heads to talk. But, please, look. This collective enterprise has a problem, which is in fact the entire problem of the

Advertisement

era of communications, neatly distilled to its essence (Twitter!).



When you click on one of the "Trending Topics" nowadays, because you see [THING X] listed and you wonder why it's there (sudden death? Startling personal revelation? Indiscreet use of Twitter? Prank? Collaboration with Justin Bieber?), all you get is a whole batch of posts from people saying, "Hey, why is [THING X] in the Trending Topics?"



OK, that's a funny self-reinforcing phenomenon, kind of, briefly. Whatever the original reason was, now the reason something is a Trending Topic is that it's a Trending Topic. It's like culture-jamming-jamming. But the upshot is that Twitter—in its mass-aggregated form—is getting too stupid (or, more precisely, too ignorant) to inform or entertain. Or it does get entertaining, but in the

:


Oi Keanu Reeves, Alicia Silverstone and Dave Grohl are trending. It must be the 90s again woop!

Alicia Silverstone, Keanu Reeves & Dave Grohl are trending & there's no time to pull over my Dodge Neon & stop drinking Zima to find out WHY

haha wow Keanu Reeves and Alicia Silverstone are trending!

Keanu Reeves, Alicia Silverstone and Dave Grohl are trending. Is it 1995?

Keanu Reeves, Dave Grohl, and Alicia Silverstone are all trending. Welcome to Twitter '95.

Alicia Silverstone, Keanu Reeves, and Dave Grohl are trending. I feel like Twitter found a wormhole to the 90's.

Dave Grohl and Keanu Reeves are trending. It's like going back in time to the 90's.

Alicia Silverstone, Keanu Reeves and Dave Grohl are trending. Is it just me or are we back in 1996?

Keanu Reeves and Alicia Silverstone is trending... so this is what it feels like to have Twitter in 1994.

Etc.! Thanks for sharing.


Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.

TODAY IN SLATE

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?

Science

“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.

Politics

The Right to Run

If you can vote, you should be able to run for public office—any office.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 22 2014 6:30 PM The Tragedies That Have Shaped Canada's Gun Politics
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 4:10 PM Skinny Mark Wahlberg Goes for an Oscar: The First Trailer for The Gambler
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.