The single most important thing for an individual to do is to recognize that society is not made up of individuals but of groups, some tight and some loose. Democracies are not markets, divided into atomized and rational actors. Democracies are coalitional, and the big thing we lose with the continuing shrinking of the importance of newspapers is having a place where news junkies and sports fans both occasionally see the same front page.
This is an important aspect on human society, but how does it relate to the observations from the discussions around the wisdom of crowds?
Actually, Shirky is conflating some things here. We should parse our how people connect through social networks and how ‘democracies’ work. I am going to have to read the whole thing and get back to you.