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Death by Too Many Reviews


Death by Too Many Online Reviews

Chris Colin writes a great essay in Wired Magazine.

He’s probably best known for the terrific and funny, What Really Happened to the Class of ’93.

But in his recent Wired Magazine piece, he suggests we are suffering from “review” overload.

For every slew of new data and information that’s produced, he says, (think videos, blogs, ebooks, tweets, Facebook postings) there is an equal avalanche of reviews that follow.

He talks about a “parallel universe” of stars, rankings, favorites, reviews, presumably to help us “sort the wheat from all the chaff we’re drowning in.”

And he wryly notes that there are even “reviews of reviews,” as in “Was This Review Helpful? ”

Does it matter?

Very much so, but it wasn’t until I read Colin’s piece that I knew how much.

I visited a resort once that I thought was wonderful in terms of service, location, amenities. The usual stuff reviewers look at.

But the reviews on TripAdvisor were not good at all.

So I actually found myself about to change my opinion based on the reviews I read.

I reasoned, something must be wrong with me. What didn’t I get?

Could “the people” actually be wrong? And what would it take for me to disagree and conclude my truth, however contrary, was also valid?

Colin says it more eloquently: “When the voices of hundreds of strangers or even just three shrill ones enter our heads, a tiny but vital part of us is diminished.”

Was that movie that great? The review say so but I thought it was horrible. I must be wrong.

I thoroughly enjoyed this restaurant. It was fun taking to the chef, watching the guests interact over their food.

But, wait. The reviews in Yelp were terrible. Or at best mixed.

What am I missing?

No question, the Internet is hugely empowering, giving voice to the previously voiceless people, which, until recently, was most of us.

But, as Colin points out, when those voices, those reviews and blog comments replace our own thinking and supercede our own truths, we then become part of a mass, collective opinion.

We lose touch with our unique perspective, and that, I think, becomes a dictatorship of or a small death by the Internet.

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