Digital sharecropping: the stick to beat the social web | 数字佃农

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This tweet from Brian Clark was getting a lot of rotation on Twitter.
digital sharecropping JPG
I found it interesting less because of its accusation of Quora than of its attitude to the social web. Much of the arguments about Quora in Scoble’s post could be just as easily made against Facebook, The Huffington Post or LinkedIn. Quora was never about blogging, it is more about expert reputation in the same way that LinkedIn is about professional reputation.

For many people blogging is about demonstrating their expertise and providing ‘thought leadership’, however may blogs get little to no readership and Quora can can aggregate eyeballs around topics of interest.

The sharecropping allegory is brought up again and again by people who don’t understand the currency of kudos and the fact that there is a certain amount of altruism in society. It was something that I had to deal with on more than one occasion when I worked at Yahoo! talking about the concept of knowledge search.

Services like Quora are more like a digital barn-raising than sharecropping, since people share their knowledge in the expectation of tapping into others expert when they need it – there is a strong altruistic element to it.