Saturday, March 24, 2012

Group vs. Individual

Dear Susan Cain,

I found it extremely interesting that you stated that the most intelligent people are individualistic and unwilling to share their ideas. I also feel that solitude is a catalyst to innovation. I usually shut off all of my electronic devices and loose contact with people when working on a project because I am personally not able to multitask. I also find the suggestion, that behind charisma is someone working successfully in solitude accurate. The expression "two heads are better then one," has its place, however I agree that invention and development of projects is better done alone. I have never collaborated with someone in a way that made my own work improve dramatically. I feel that the reason our community fosters group think is because it teaches people to be more relate-able, I don't think it is because the final product is greatly improved. Obviously groupthink can lead to close mindedness. Many think that more opinions equal a better and more fair outcome, however group-think can cause people to think too much alike one another. As you point out that solitude is actually an activity that promotes learning.

I have personally been in group-think groups where members believe that they can sit back and allow others to do the work. This as you pointed out, is an issue that arises from group-think also. I agree that workplaces and schools should allow for introverts to work in private. Andrew Keen, the author of "The Great Seduction from the Cult of the Amateur," pointed out another explanation for why group-think fails creators, it doesn't allow for specialization. Like Keen says, our mass amounts of information are just superficial and they do not really go into depth. We think everything is available at the push of a button, but it's mostly amateur information. This is an issue that comes up a lot in my journalism classes. As citizen journalism is becoming popular, many believe that journalists will die out and be replaced by amateur reporters, however what people don't realize is that professionals utilize skills that armatures cannot, making their reporting better. The idea of coming together to create information online is another form of group-think, and as pointed out by Keen it is problematic because of lack of professionalism.

Wikipedia, however, as pointed out in Shirky Clay's article "Personal Motivation Meets Collaborative Production from Here Comes Everybody," is the exception to the problems with group-think. Although Wikipedia should fail because of it's lack of regulation, it hasn't. The reason why Wikipedia succeeded and Nupedia did not is because Wikipedia covers a mass amount of information on minute subjects where as Nupedia's experts only focus on what they know. As stated in Keens article, people turn to the internet for quantity and not quality of information. Collaboration works well on Wikipedia because people are personally motivated to contribute and they decide what they want to add. Of course, Wikipedia may be a great tool and reflection of collaboration, however it cannot always be trusted.

image borrowed from
Sofia Pitt

No comments:

Post a Comment