Crowds Are Not People, My Friend

… We’ve long believed that physical crowds are emotional, irrational and prone to violence. Over the last decade, we’ve come to think of virtual crowds as sources of wisdom that can’t be found in individuals. Both these ideas treat crowds as entities, rather than groups of people — an idea that has its origins in 19th-century sociology, which, according to scientists studying crowd behavior today, is deeply flawed. [cont.]

Maggie Koerth-Baker, New York Times Magazine