Well, I'm not so completely cynical about it, but it's darn close. There's really nothing original about it.
The most powerful thing in social media today is the web API. That's what makes it work, and that's the fundamental difference between what was essentially the same technology a few years ago.
Yep. That about sums it up.
Similar to something Noam Chomsky said in an interview a while back. He noted that the "new" way of doing science seems to be to catalog and get better "priors" - and then apply analytic techniques to the data collection in order to better predict future outcomes. Which is fine for predictive modeling. But it gets away from the more classic approach which tried to discover the underlying mechanism(s) behind the phenomena.
Today, the emphasis seems to be more on trying to accurately predict future results. In a way it's almost like saying we've abandoned the "search for truth" and settled instead for building frameworks in order to make very highly educated guesses about things.
Yay for science by consensus! Now we can finally all agree on science. Heck, why don't we start a petition at the White House petition site and have the theory of gravity changed. After all, it is Wile E. Coyote's greatest enemy. Think of all the hip replacement surgeries that could be avoided when old people slip on the ice or fall down stairs! After we change the science consensus, and outlaw gravity, wow! The collective will prosper! We can even create new industries based around gravity not existing anymore!
On the topic of prediction... I've been doing some research and reading in new areas of science. You know... That fringe stuff that people scoff at and mock... Funny thing is, in one area the traditional science crowd has had exactly zero (0) predictions happen, and these "fringe lunatics" have had predictive power proven empirically. Hmmm... Then again, these "freaks" are actually doing what we used to think science is, and not what it is today - agreement.