In a recent post, I breifly mention the notion of a smart crowd. I started to talk about this in the context of Web 2.0, the term coined in large part by Tim O’Reilly. He identifies a number of principles to help explain what this is. Omitting the more programming specific, he describes Web 2.0 as applications as platforms, continuously updated, centered around deep data, where participation is central and users call the shoots, which get better as more users take part, and harness the collective intelligence of the users. For example, eBay, Google Adsense and maps, Wikipedia, Flickr, BitTorrent, and blogs (especially with the advent of RSS, permalinks, and trackbacks.)

O’Reilly does make reference to the wisdom of crowds, in talking about “harnessing the collective intelligence” of the user community. So what doe this have to do with the media?

Well imagine starting with news feeds, such as Reuters, the AP, ESPN, etc. Enable users to add content to these stories, and allow the user base to vote on the top stories — sort of like a Web 2.0 attempt at USA Today.

NewsVine is trying to do this. The site is in private Beta currently. Send me an email or leave a comment if you want access – I have a few invitations left. Will be very interesting to watch over time.