Internet sites have in general, similar quality to paper tabloids. The mixture of sensation, gossip, scandal and lots of pictures, always draws the attention of enough visitors. Of course, there are also sites, which strive to serve only the best quality content, and BigThink is apparently one of them.
The creators of BigThink consider information to be one of the most important goods in the modern world. They also believe that getting in touch with the experts in certain fields is more valuable, than reading articles with "expert quotations" taken out from the context and digested by bob-expert journalists. BigThink strives to become "a hub for important information", a place where people can discuss serious and advanced topics, and form their opinions on the basis of knowledge coming from real experts.
BigThink started as a video site, much like YouTube, but with different content and moderation. The main difference is, that not everyone can add videos to BigThink, only a group of experienced editors do that. A visitor, however, can watch them, discuss, follow favourite users, and ask a specific question which can be later answered by a specialist in the upcoming video.
Each user gets a personalized profile, which is less about posting random information, and more about receiving updates related to chosen ideas, users, or topics. This means, that the site can still interact with the visitors, but does not get run over with discussions, spam and quarrels. It's more like a lecture room, where listeners sit respectfully at their desks, and listen to the speaker, than a party, where everyone talks at the same time. In this case, limiting the freedom of the regular users, can benefit the quality of the site.
The most important feature of the site are still the videos. There are no special effects, no music background, and no dramatic gerbils - just the experts, talking about the specific subject. As the experts use different varieties of English, the site contains transcripts of their speeches, so people who have trouble understanding the spoken language can simply read the interview.
BigThink is connected to most notable online magazines and newspapers, and uses search algorithms to find articles related to currently discussed topics. In this way, a user who wants to deepen his or her knowledge, gets immediate access to many sources of information.
The interviews are organized in a thematic catalogue, which consists of a wide range of main topics, both "meta" (love, life, inspiration) and physical (politics, art, world events) and subtopics in each category. Despite the size of the collection, it is surprisingly easy to use.
The catalogue of experts is also interesting, because you can browse through it using the experts names, or their field of knowledge.
BigThink is a professional and informative site, so there's no room for gadgets. The layout is very clean, but also attractive, the components of the site are organized in a clear and esthetically pleasing way. The videos themselves, are all in very good quality, and load fast.
The experts avatars are created in a consistent manner - all have the same size, and quality. Only the users avatars stand out a bit, when it comes to quality, but are still reasonable.
Visiting this site can really be enlightening. Whether you want to learn more about the opinions on current events, explore the topics you've always been interested in, or see something completely you had no idea about - you can be satisfied. All the information served here, comes from the mouths of people who really know what they are talking about, and this is a rarity in today's media. Even topics that can seem controversial and a bit scandalous, like "Having sex with Lolita in Teheran" contain valuable knowledge (in this case, about the attitude towards female underwear in Muslim countries), you might not see in other places. Overall, it's like a breath of fresh air for a person who is tired with low quality media babble, and wants to see smart people talking.