It's the question on everyone's lips these days, as the social web becomes a part of our daily lives, and through it's mechanics we become exposed to more and more rubbish content. I foresee something akin to Faith Popcorn's "Cocooning" trend happening all over again, just in a digital manner. Given too much choice, consumers tend to shut down and rely on tried and trusted channels and gatekeepers.
But then I turn my mind to two of my favourite metaphors.
The first, from Max Kaizen (Hunter of Genius). Not sure if this is original or creative-commons, Max will surely tell you: Culture precedes Commerce. There's a reason we haven't quite figured this new space out - we're waiting for culture to catch up. We're waiting for it to "embed", to use a horrid consulting term. Commerce will come.
(Update: From the comments, Max tells me the original quote came from Kevin Kelly and reads "Community precedes Commerce" - which makes a lot of sense. With the springboard nature of the web, it allows us to create an even better version: Culture precedes Community. Community precedes Commerce.)
The second, almost more important is a little gem from Clay Shirky. It gives me hope that even though it seems like the whole world is bashing down our doors with their self-promotion, the web, startups, business people will eventually innovate around the noise. Stick this one on your wall: "It's not information overload. It's filter failure."