Quantity versus Quality
Last week, our professor Ms. Li gently forced me to chose quantity instead of quality during her lecture. As much as I prefer quantity over quality (in the case of McDonalds, money and UB free spots), quality in many cases is my pick to go for. To be honest, my opinion about this choice has changed. I was influenced by a friend of mine, who told me his theory about his preference for quality, a theory that I adopted from him. I won’t mention his name, but I can tell you this “friend of mine” is good in when it comes to generating “organic” page visits for a blog post. He explained his theory to me by analyzing our night out when we were both still single, and somewhat enjoyed life.
It’s a long, long, time ago. We both had hair longer than our shoulders, which we thought looked nice. We had one goal in mind: getting in touch with as much as female creatures, while drinking beer. As simple as this activity may sounds, it requires proper tactics and a location selection. As a tactic, we made up the story that were both descendants from Karel de Grote, a story which nobody believed but was fun to tell. The location we selected was “de Kneus” in Utrecht, a small bar, that due to its size always looks crowded.
We went in, and the first thing we both thought is that we hit the jackpot. Every were we looked: women. We were overwhelmed by the amount of feminine presence, and although it all together looked very much positive (lots and lots of quality), as the hours went by we experienced that this apparent quality wasn’t actually quality. It was just an enormous amount of quantity. The womanly like persons namely hadn’t showered for months, making their hair seem like bird-nests, drinking individually more beers than we did together and having voices lower than ours. We had a good night, but we did not got were we came for: Quality.
How do you think, can this guy writing about his failed score attempts, relate this to an information good? I want to do this by comparing a story about a well know information good, WhatsApp. Whatsapp is an platform were you can freely sent messages to everybody that also owns this application. The more people own this app, the more effectively the app can be used by it users, and thus have positive network effects (Carr, 2008). I won’t act like mister obvious any more, over the last years we all have experienced this positive effects from the extremely high coverage rate of WhatsApp application (app). What you maybe also have experienced, were some negative networks (size) effects. These negative effects were not due not the actual increase of users for the app itself, but due to an internal update of the application. In the beginning, WhatsApp allowed a maximum amount of 10 people in each WhatsApp group. Over the years, this number has grown from 15 to 50 and currently a WhatsApp group can accommodate as much as a 100 users (Droidmen, 2015). Because of this high amount (quantity) of users per group, the actual quality of these group conversations drastically have decreased. Although contacting and sharing information with 100 people is made very easy, the “content overload” can make cause for participants to cannot (properly) read all of the messages shared within this group. This then, has made processing the information shared a lot harder. Yes, a higher quantity of information can be shared much easier. Though, less of this information can be processed effectively, what decreases the quality of these conversations.
No, I will not end my little story with saying that WhatsApp should decrease its maximum group size. What I do want to state is that, we all have to keep in mind that more is not always better. If your message contains really valuable information, you may better also sent it to smaller groups or people individually. This namely increases the change that this information can actually be processed, and thus increases the conversation quality.
- Carr, N. (2008). The big switch. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
- Droidmen, (2015). How to add more than 100 members in WhatsApp Group?. [online] Available at: http://www.droidmen.com/2015/02/how-to-add-more-than-100-members-whatsapp-group/ [Accessed 17 Oct. 2015].