About the Author:

With a career that has spanned advertising, production, technical services, and project management, Michael is able to articulate the wide range skills and professions that make the Internet work. This eclectic understanding and his desire to shine the light on those hiding behind techno babble has brought success to a wide range of projects.

Twitter @bissell

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Past Postings:

Using Dissent To Enhance Your Social Influence Online

Industry Profile - Author

Industry Profiles Full Time Employees - Professional Writer

Some Thoughts On Freelancing

Building Your Online Brand

Marissa Mayer and the Change in Yahoo's Remote Workforce

LinkedIn for Professional Writers

Fake Republican Twitter Accounts

"Did you mean?" -- Google's chiding nanny of search results

Branded Technology

Sharingspree.com -- Stealing more than GroupOn's Idea

The Internet Isn't Entertaining Enough

It's not your bank... It's Apple's and Amazon's

Violated by Madison Avenue

Google+ Scares Me

"We need to..." Internet Marketing Myths

Facebook's deal with the Devil

My cool new phone is a little too cool.

You are never alone

Promotion vs. Distribution... You'd think they'd know that one...

Publishing Industry Watch

Content for Social Media

Social Media Slot Machine

Anonymous vs Me

News from the Twitter Follow Campaign Trail

The art of Indiscriminate Twitter Following

The Cloudy Meaning of The Cloud

The Demand For The Loss of Creativity

Alien Technology and Government Conspiracies

Time for a New Reality

The Death of Email

Protecting Free Speech... Anonymously (and geekily)

Amazon Shouldn't Have Shut Down WikiLeaks

The Superpowers of the Hive Mind

Time for New Ideas

Comcast, Netflix and the Mystery of the Modem

The Great Technical Disconnect

New for the Sake of New

A Retail Store Built Like the Web

Disposable Personas

When did Google Start Policing the Internet?

Getting back to HTML basics, thanks to Apple

Inspecting my Navel Base

A shoebox vs. an online backup

Is Your "Resume" Website Recruiter-friendly?

iBooks -- Creative Epicenter or Gatekeeper?

The Failure of Success

The Economy is Going to Get Worse, but that's okay

Time lost on Twitter

Client Vendor Relationships

Twitter's back alleys and dark places

Social Media is NOT Advertising

Microsoft Courier

Form (designers) versus Function (geeks)

PDXBOOM -- The power of social media and the portland pipe bomb

China and Apple -- Different organizations, same management

The volume of screens


Google Adds Biking Directions to Maps


That magical little tablet

How your website can be in two places at once

Masterpieces created by sheer volume

Suing over lack of originality

A Primer on Internet Fame -- dancing babies, hamsters, numa numa, and more...

Checking my messages

Rules are made to be broken -- in a reasoned, systematic way

So many accounts, so few passwords

Who really uses Twitter? 60% of Twitter's traffic isn't on Twitter

The Web is a Jerry Rigged Kludge

Twitter: Asleep at the Mouse Wheel

Where regulation is good: Google Voice and Vonage

How Facebook is (unintentionally) forcing programmers to piss off users

The Twit Cleaner

Perfect Secretary's pitch for @Adbroad (and the Youtube API)

The Emotions of Text

The Shorty Awards Scandal -- Manual Spam is still Spam

Google Analytics, the cloud and missing numbers #fail

Helen Klein Ross & Michael Bissell Interview at Adweek's Social Media Strategies Conference

The Internet is the New 60's

Cougars from New Zealand (and I don't mean big cats)

Adding facts together, or why you can't charge your cell phone from wifi

Social Media and the Destruction of the World

Rabid Fans vs Passive Viewers -- The Coco vs Leno saga

How to tell someone to retweet (without using up your 140 characters)

You can't buy social media

A book unopened is but a block of paper

Building the LOST: The Final Season Sweepstakes

Holiday SPAM (or the lack thereof)

Archiving Twitter

Too Many Toolbars

Random Censorship with Google Adwords

Accessibility and Shopping Online

Twisted path to customer service

Flash: Shiny objects blinding your audience

Twollow and other gold rush scripts

GPS in a Laptop computer

Thinking outside the box... There was a box?

Twitter was designed for Text Messaging

It's not the corporations, damnit

Entrepreneur or Dreamer?

Adweek Social Media Twitter for Brands Presentation

Socializing is more than Social Media

Generational Marketing is a Myth (or Who's your Daddy?)

Social Media is Just the Way We Use the Internet

Twitter Followers Don't Matter (ask the porn sites)

The Internet is Gooder than Books

Sometimes you don't want your campaign to go viral

Best Twitter Branding Campaign

Like flies to crap, Spammy Twitter Followers don't really go away

iPhone SMS Security Hole

How Flipmytweet works

Cell Phones as Microscopes

Digg is not the Hijacker -- You Are

Steve Ballmer -- the walking dead?

Twitter as an open mic poetry reading

Automatic Social [un]Awareness

New York, New York

First splash for United Against Malaria

New Media/Old Media and the CLIO Awards

Interview at SXSW: Mad Men Twitter And Tracking

We've got an App for that -- it's called the Web

Understanding Google To Get Your Resume Noticed

Made it to SXSW in Austin

The trouble with Wordpress and other templates

Wayward Words with Baggage

Speaking at SXSW March 17th

The fleeting Memory of the Internet

It's okay to say 'I don't know'

Good Morning America, now Go Fight Traffic

More surreality in Portland

Nike Takes Over Conquent

Facebook owns this title

Excuses, excuses

A little on Social Media

Feeding on Content

Attack of the Bots

Irish Music in Oregon City

Landing on an Aircraft Carrier

Got Curry? And some bizarre art?

Web 1.0

Random Music and Random Life in Portland

To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump

Flight Simulator

Cold night, hot fire, happy cat

Net Neutrality

Walking to work in the snow

A window into Moreland of the Past

Getting clever with data feeds

Big and Little Beirut

The Other Credit Crisis

The Broadband Inauguration

T-Mobile owns Magenta and Other Patent Stories

The Risk-takers, Doers and Makers of Things

The noise of 20,000+ Twitter Followers

Reflections on my DC Trip

Born Again American

30,000 feet, 500 MPH Suburban Strip Mall

Cellphones, toilets and the Inauguration

The wall of pissing

National Treasure/National Archives

My trip to DC so far

Everyone is insane

Getting ready for DC

The End of Days (of song): Microsoft Songsmith Example

The Very Model of a Modern Major General

Browser Bigotry

The Death of your Soul: Microsoft Songsmith

Creative Development or Developing Creatively?

Race to Witch Mountain

The Myth of Wikipedia (or the Wiki-1400)

Online/Offline Sales -- is it really that bad?

Is PayPal Tacky?

Old School Web Design Still Works

Domain Squatting

Christmas Fire

Green Chri$tma$

QA 101

Portland Snow

Get some return on that web traffic

I think they have a backup...

I'd love to have that problem

The [un]importance of statistics

Don't be a tool of viral marketing

CAT Scan!

Follow up to the shoulder injury

Emails, discussions, blogs, wiki and web content

Ironic Injury

On the Santa Monica Pier

You Designed for Print First

You let someone else register your domain name

You figured .biz, .info, .us would work fine

What's after the Integrated Circuit?

Intelligent life is out there (but it's bugger all down here on earth)

Subject Matter Experts Talking Other Subject Matter

The Totalitarian Regime of Apple

Oversimplifying how people work


Creative Services for the New World

Reverse Anthropomorphism

The End of Time

Oil prices and birdsong

Watching Starship Troopers AGAIN!

Better Living Through Twitter

Lessons Learned From Apple

It's the Brand, Baby

Business Architecture vs. Web Construction

On Truth

You can't build life

Accidentally Drunk in Portland

Al Gore the Winner

Intelligent life is out there (but its bugger all down here on earth)

Aussie Rules Football

Trip to Nostalgia Land

I am such an idiot

Long day of travel

Miami -- as far from Portland as you can go in the US

Inverse Peter Principle

Random Knowledge

I'm fascinated with modern plumbing

Leaving Seattle (or why you should keep your ticket close)

On the Rails

The Hive

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The Myth of Wikipedia (or the Wiki-1400)
2009-01-03 12:20:11

Okay, let's talk about the myth of Wikipedia... The story goes that the Wiki is comprised of millions of tiny bits of data coming in from millions of people, and that the gestalt is an accurate document created by the hive mind of humanity.

The reality seems to be a little different. "...in fact the most active 2%, which is 1400 people, have done 73.4% of all the edits" according to Jimbo Wales, the face of Wikipedia in Raw Thought: Who Writes Wikipedia?.

Now, some argue that this number is based on the corrections made constant monitoring of vandalism and change backs, but in reality, it means that this "gestalt" is really crafted in the image of these prolific watchdogs, just as the PTA can ban Alice in Wonderland, so can the Wiki-1400.

At the same time, these 1,400 people can't possibly know everything, and a lot of the articles are started by the other 98% of the wiki population. Filtering is part of what makes the process work, and, honestly, most of us don't have time to sit online looking at recent changes on Wiki.

The Wiki is as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica (which oddly enough is based in Chicago). But knowing what we know about the Wiki-1400, maybe it's not a fair comparison. Wiki-zealots are always talking about the accuracy of the wiki, and comparing it to traditional encyclopedias for validation. If the Wiki-1400 are constantly striving towards that goal, then the first thing they would do is check the Britannica, and roll back the entry if it doesn't agree.

I think the real bottom line is that the Wiki-1400 share a philosophy, and philosophy more than anything else, filters what we believe to be true and what we believe to be false. You can cross reference and document evolution all you want, but a creationist won't agree.

I'm not suggesting that the Wiki-1400 have that overt of blinders, but blinders they must have, and knowing this, we need to check other sources of information than the Wiki when expanding our own knowledge.

Pete Forsyth: Re: The Myth of Wikipedia (or the Wiki-1400)
2009-01-04 01:11:52

I'm one of the 1400, and I don't get it. I'v heard others make points similar to this, but something fails to click for me.

Exactly who is it who has advanced -- or believes -- the myth you posit?

Of course, in the early days of a new project, there is a small number of people making most of the contributions. I'm not sure why that would be surprising, or cause concern.

I don't think there's a single regular contributor who would recommend to anyone that they use Wikipedia as a reliable source or accurate overview for any serious purpose.

There is, of course, an ideal to which many of us aspire -- and one that people like Jimmy Wales have discussed at length.

Usually prefaced with the word "imagine."

If we get there at all, it might take years or decades.

But that doesn't mean there isn't incredibly cool stuff happening on Wikipedia all the time, or that it isn't very useful (alongside other sources) in certain areas.

Plus, I think the trend is in the right direction.

Michael Bissell (in response to Pete Forsyth): Re: The Myth of Wikipedia (or the Wiki-1400)
2009-01-04 10:33:44

Before writing this post, I dug through some of the source material for the basis of the Wiki-1400, and I admit, it's one of those statistical games that can be played different ways -- the comments were originally made early on, but they've been repeated, there's the issue of rollbacks and anti-vandalism contributing to those numbers, but overall, I think it makes sense that there's a hardcore center making the bulk of the changes.

I think it's interesting that Pete says he doesn't "... think there's a single regular contributor who would recommend to anyone that they use Wikipedia as a reliable source or accurate overview for any serious purpose." The problem is that non-contributors DO use it as the Holy Grail of information. The general impression is that the Wiki is as accurate as anything else you'll find out there.

And I'm not saying it's not. Ultimately the problem rests in using any single source as your end-all source. That's why using the Bible to prove the existence of God to non-believers doesn't work -- you start to lose the science and enter faith when you accept only one source.

But, I have to agree with Pete that the Wiki is on the right track. Heck, the very fact that I can post a blog like this, get feedback, and clarify, all over the course of a lazy weekend, shows the power of the Internet for collaboration and the exchange of ideas.

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