Posted by: tjholmesjr | February 19, 2009

Be Careful What You Search For

MySpace and Facebook are social networks we live on. We can claim it reality by communicating with other people about our daily lives and the events we encounter in them.

However, reality cannot be something where we don’t have to physically interact with one another. We say we emailed this person, I left him a comment, or I wrote on her wall. This proxy world we live in called Web 2.0 has made us less sociable and less interpersonal.

People can create a profile as one person but be someone completely different. They could be a real person impersonating another, or could just be an alias, maybe a fabrication.

Wikipedia is an example of this alternate view of reality. It is a 24-hour news Web site with one problem — people can publish or delete any information they want to at anytime because of the anonymity of Wikipedia. David Weinberger, author of Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of New Digital Order, argues that people need to recognize the source of where they get their information from. Wikipedia is only a place where unknown people with unknown backgrounds can come together and write whatever they want because of the anonymity of it. Weinberger compares Wikipedia to the Encyclopedia Britannica to show that it has been under “extensive editorial review,” and therefore is a creditable source.

Wikipedia contributors and citizen reporting are very similar in the fact that they both lack a form of professional editing. They are free to spread rumors and make mistakes due to anonymity and lack of liability for the work they create.

Valid arguments can be proposed on both blogs and Wikipedia and sometimes it can be pure garbage. But it is up to the reader to determine if it is credible and not only from the person, but from the Web site it is found at.

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