Traditionally, the Internet has always been about information hosting, with the power to contribute in the hands of a select few. The Web 2.0 paradigm has changed all that, bringing the power of publishing to the masses. With such a volume-driven approach, it is only natural that every submission to the write-enabled Web cannot be an original that appeals to a large section of readers. In fact, most of the information floating around is second-hand in nature: repeated and referring to facts and ideas expressed elsewhere.
Second-hand information is not all that bad, so long as it is possible to trace back to the original. The primary benefit is that of information reaching a larger audience, with less effort and diligence on part of the individual. Yet another interesting effect of such repetition is that of ‘information vending’.
Information vending can be defined as the set of processes and techniques by which relevant information from multiple sources reach their intended audience with a high degree of accuracy. Often, the content that reaches an end-user includes the original juxtaposed with inputs from other contributors collected during propagation. There is an element of mediation involved, both automated and human. Automation involves software-based services and hosting platforms while the human element is provided by the ‘wisdom of crowds.’ Read the rest of this entry »