This morning on the Federal Web 2.0 Virtual Webinar – The Rise of NOAA’s Goverati – different aspects and benefits of social networking were considered. At one point, the notion of “collective output” or “combined input” was mentioned. I did a little research on "collective intelligence" and found some sources on the subject including "The Wisdom of Crowds" which mentions Sir Francis Galton's (half cousin of Darwin) "surprise that the crowd at a county fair accurately guessed the weight of an ox when their individual guesses were averaged (the average was closer to the ox's true butchered weight than the estimates of most crowd members, and also closer than any of the separate estimates made by cattle experts)" (wiki page).
I found this to be particularly interesting in the context of Twitter. Obviously, Twitter as a site is only as rich as the collective output that is poured into it. And I believe it lives up to the adage “you only get out what you put in” in the truest sense of the phase. My organization, Computech, started a Twitter site because we found the benefits pretty indisputable – better conversations with others in our niche and the industry as a whole, a way to keep abreast of all of the rapid fire daily news – just to name a few.
But when I think about Twitter being a resource to collectively get a better result, what I am starting to see is while Twitter has capabilities being dreamed up in every possible way – the way that it will offer the greatest contribution – will result from what people do with it above and beyond their tweets. In other words, the organizations - or grass roots initiatives - or even just thought leadership with action that will be spurred from it. In my mind, this is where the fruit is.