Okaaaaay. That's about enough of that.
Thing 12 is concerned with the social media sites Digg, Reddit, Newsvine, and Mixx. Reading though the description of what these sites do, I could see potential usefulness. These sites allow web viewers to post stories they've read there. Visitors to the sites then rate them. Highest ratest stories swim to the top. Theoretically, these are useful meta tools. They filter web content and draw out the high quality stories (in theory). Then--theoretically--librarians can go to the site and take a quick look to see what's of interest to web users and get a jump on reference needs.
But, oh, oh the humanity.
Quick overview: Digg receives a B+ for interface design and clear instructions for use.
Newsvine receives a B for okay design and okay instructions for use.
Mixx is awarded a C for being mediocre.
Reddit receives a C- for appearing, in every way, as if it were designed by and for 15 year olds. Admittedly, 15 year olds nowadays can make some damn cool stuff on the web, but still. Still.
Here's a story I am both compelled and embarrassed to share: a few years back I took one of those online quizzes to determine where I fell on the political spectrum.* You know these things--you get asked all sort of questions about where you stand on gun control, social welfare programs, etc. And then came the fateful question. It was: "I think most people are too stupid to know what's good for them." Friends, there was only a Yes button and a No button. There was no hedging allowed. And I stared at this for quite awhile, and I desparately wanted to click No but I know in my heart the answer was Yes. Yes, I think most people are too stupid to know what's good for them. There, I said it. And I clicked it.
The point to this anecdote is that, being the elitist that I clearly am, I am forced to conclude after viewing these sites, that perhaps the world is not ready to know what the masses consider the top stories. It's a scary world out there, friends, especially when the content is dictated, apparently, by a demographic that generates advertising revenue around women in too tight t-shirts.
But then again, I am a librarian, after all, and so perhaps my lofty stance is informed at least slightly by the fact that my profession is largely defined as being one that determines information content. Useful content. Quality content. Content that only sometimes includes a crotch shot of a Japanese schoolgirl.