To continue Mike’s comments, and perhaps to illustrate the point of the article, Ed Driscoll has an article in Tech Central Station today about Chris Anderson’s “long tail” meme. One of the things that I found interesting in this article is when Driscoll points out that the tail is more influential than you would expect because it is a high-trust environment:
In an interview [Hugh] Hewitt told me, “I would rather have 90 percent of the blogs and none of those top ten percent bloggers writing about my book, than I would have all of the top ten percent and none of the 90 percent doing so.
“Because the 90 percent of the tail operate in very high trust environments: they’re read by their brother in law, they’re read by their neighbors, their friends in church, their friends at work. If they say, ‘hey you ought to read this book’, it’ll sell a lot of books!”
This ties in nicely with the ideas of social distance that Adam Smith developed in Theory of Moral Sentiments, about which I am reading over and over and over … because I’m grading midterms.