As much as we sometimes roll our eyes at the ivory-tower isolation of universities, they continue to serve as remarkable engines of innovation.
What I'm saying is individuals have better ideas if they're connected to rich, diverse networks of other individuals. If you put yourself in an environment with lots of different perspectives, you yourself are going to have better, sharper, more original ideas. It's not that the network is smart.
Most of the time, criticism that takes pop culture seriously involves performing some kind of symbolic analysis, decoding the work to demonstrate the way it represents some other aspect of society.
I love those stretches where I've just been a writer - when I haven't been doing Internet start-ups - where I pretty much eliminate meetings from my life.