A hot discussion topic among librarians (and others, of course) is the "wisdom of the masses" theory of information authority. Does the expertise of 100 (1,000, 10,000) amateurs or a single credentialed specialist provide the greatest authority?
The topic came up in yesterday's workshops for ALA in Anaheim. (Wonderful groups, BTW.) I related how my views have moderated on the issue since I have been using the "authoritative" Frommers and Fodors guides for travel planning less and relying on user-review sites like TripAdvisor more. And feeling sort of cool and modern about it.
Then Laura Pearle raised an interesting question. She wondered if those who contributed to consumer review sites are more likely to be the ones who have had negative experiences. Good question.
I remember seeing a study showing that if a person has a positive experience with a business, he is likely to tell one person; if he has a negative experience, he is likely to tell eight other people. Does the same hold true for online communications?
Is the grouser more vocal than the satisfied?
I certainly hope so considering the reviews of the cheap hotel (Days Inn Riverwalk) in San Antonio I've booked. It has received less than, uh, stellar reviews. Headings like "too scary for words," "never again," and "dump is too nice a word for this place."
Laura, I sure hope you're right. I guess I'll find out tonight!