So there was a time when it was grocer’s job to service you, to suggest you which brands to try, to deliver stuff at your home if you are a long time patron of the shop etc. etc. And then came self-service stores.
There was a time when going to a feast or a meal invitation means being serviced by people, being pressed to taste this and that. And then there were buffets.
There was a time when there were good reporters, good editors and we used to read content having their kind of flavour. And then there was Web 2.0 and the “all powerful user” and universality of “user generated content” and digg.coms.
I am happy about the first two. I do not feel going ga-ga over the last one. There can never be so many items in a store or so many dishes in a lunch/dinner that I can not make my choices. And in any case I can try things out and then take my decision. Not so in case of information. I can use a soap, taste a dish and decide whether I want it again or not. Not so with information. There is no “repeat use” of information. You have invested time in reading it and that is it. I would like to get something that is good and I do not always have competency to know what is good. So, I want somebody to do that job of selecting things and issues for me. The job that good reporters and good editors used to do (hopefully still do).
But of course, there are topics about which I may be knowing quite a bit. In such cases I would like to have more and more information and then judge on what to keep in my mind and what to forget. In such cases I do not need good reporters, rather lot of information which I can filter out for myself. But even in such cases I would like to read from focussed sources, which talk about the specific topic.
This is how I would like to summarize my take on the recent debate emerging from comparisons like “Slashdot vs Digg“. I would prefer reading Slashdot because as of now there is nothing there in which I have an expertise and would like to delve deeper in to. When due to unfiltered user submitted content the amount of content is too high, unfocussed sites become kind of useless. I still scan through Digg just in case I land up on something useful and there have been times when this has happened. But I would not spend time in seriously reading Digg. If someday I decide to dig deep into some topic, I would look for more focussed sources of information. Or may be use something like Google Alerts.