neWMW

Your blog is so good! Quality versus quantity

with 7 comments

Regardless of how you got here, you probably did a search on some topic listed here in my blog, and I thank you for that! But I do disagree with the whole way the World Wide Web is set up nowadays, and how the original intent is being used.

I’ve been actively blogging now for about a month and especially my blogs on U3 seem to give me traffic through the search engines. That is nice because I’m hoping people will also check out other more in-depth stories on the blog. But do people take the time to read lengthy backgroundarticles? Is the attention span becoming shorter and shorter, as short as that of a goldfish? Bear with me on this ‘longer than your average blog’-blog and you might just have something to think about for 10 seconds!

You can’t always buy quality, but nowadays it seems possible to buy quantity, which in turn seems to equal quality in a way. Quantity is the judge of what is good stuff. The more hits, props, diggs or recommendations you get, the higher your position in a search engine will be. We live in a western society where ‘the most counts’ and not ‘the best counts’, just look at the corporate internet strategies. So automatically the most commercial approach wins the hits and the interesting, alternative approach is forgotten. And don’t forget the Googlebomb, which makes for a good prank. But I don’t want to go into the search engines wars and the quality of a search engine, a lot of that has already been discussed in loads of topics and blogs. 

I can hear you scream: BUT HEY! We just entered the age of Web 2.0, we are all about the social media and everyone can have his say and write history in Wikipedia! True. Let’s look at Digg.com where you can give props to certain posts, the posts with the most props get on top of the list, the others don’t. Right?

We have to look at the definition of quality here, which is ‘Having a high degree of excellence.’ High excellence equals quality, not quantity. So although the posts are good according to a lot of people, this kind of quantity is more about popularity as featured on Yahoo! Buzz. Popular items can of course have quality, I’m not doubting that, but perhaps the most beautiful written poems and essays will never have exposure because they have the quality, but not the quantity as a vehicle for the promotion of the message. Or on the other hand a band on PureVolume or MySpace that gets a load of exposure through spamming (quantity), but has the worst stage act ever (no quality).

So if in the case of war they say that whoever wins the war writes the history to come. The shape of that history is now in the hands of the one who can attract the most traffic and is found the fastest and easiest. You could say that quantity is slowly shaping the way we think. So it’s waiting for a way for us to search quality, and not quantity. And another suggestion is that we don’t forget to look for personal quality, what we like ourselves, as a person, without judging something directly on props and diggs.

But how to measure quality? Wikipedia with the whole world as its editors? Maybe. What might be the thing to think about is that quantity can do without quality and have readers, but quality can’t do without quantity.

Further reading
Quality, not quantity: delivering value from web content by Gerry McGovern from gerrymcgovern.com
Impact of Data Quality on the Web User Experience by Jakob Nielsen from useit.com

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7 Responses

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  1. I particularly enjoyed reading this blog and I do have to concur. I’ll post something soon on so called online communities (myspace etc)

    Back to the point! I think web 2 is fantastic, however the amount of junk one can find on the net nowadays is amazing! Blogging is allowing millions of people to freely express themselves. Blue-chips are certainly interested in the contents of blogs and it’ll be interesting to see how this data will be analysed and utilised in the future. It’s particularly interesting for me as my job primarily focuses on understanding consumers… Watch this space.

    Laurence-Hélène

    August 22, 2006 at 9:58 pm

  2. well, this quality vs quantity debate is not new. it has always been there and alway be… the only point being, after the web 2.0 explosion, blogs, user communities, personal video sites, etc are all offered free. and people dont mind getting an account to keep track of their life

    and there is nothing wrong in quantity. if the web didnt have so much quantity (lets agree, all of it isnt quality stuff) it would not have been such a big thing. there are thousands of blogs that make for some good timepass, and there are a few hundred that are really useful.. like i said, we need both quality and quantity

    SRi

    August 23, 2006 at 3:29 pm

  3. Very true about the debate not being new. And I agree with your views. We do need both quality and quantity. I read this article: http://www.gerrymcgovern.com/nt/2005/nt-2005-08-22-quality-content.htm from Gerry mcGovern, that actually says that at first you can have success with a website solely based on quantity, but to keep the attention quality is always required.

    Interesting stuff to discuss. Although maybe quantity does seem the basis for websuccess, with the addition of quality coming 2nd.

    newmw

    August 23, 2006 at 5:53 pm

  4. My biggest gripe is quality related – that there is so much information that is wrong, misleading, out of date and is propagated and maintained via the web. Plus, I don’t think people always apply a ‘quality filter’ themselves to actually check if information *is* correct before passing it on.

    If you repeat incorrect information 50 times, it is still incorrect…

    Elly

    August 24, 2006 at 9:25 pm

  5. That last remark hits the spot! I often use the example of an average GPS system in the case of incorrect information. How many times have people been sent in the wrong direction, and some people still trust them blindfolded?
    We have a saying in the Netherlands: If one sheep is over the damn, the rest will follow.

    And indeed, that quality filter should be applied. But also on a personal level, every person is still unique and you can like something that a whole lot of people don’t like. Quality is also personal taste (if you’re looking at the diggs etc). Wow… I could type on and on about this 🙂 But thanks for your views!

    newmw

    August 24, 2006 at 10:09 pm

  6. […] The concept is interesting however Yahoo! focussed on quantity rather then quality. It can be useful to answer questions such as who sings that really cool tune that’s on the radio all the time, or the name of a movie. […]

  7. […] concept is interesting however Yahoo! focussed on quantity rather then quality. It can be useful to answer questions such as who sings that really cool tune that’s on the radio […]


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