Gorman on Web 2.0

bq.The life of the mind in the age of Web 2.0 suffers, in many ways, from an increase in credulity and an associated flight from expertise. Bloggers are called “citizen journalists”; alternatives to Western medicine are increasingly popular, though we can thank our stars there is no discernable “citizen surgeon” movement; millions of Americans are believers in Biblical inerrancy-the belief that every word in the Bible is both true and the literal word of God, something that, among other things, pits faith against carbon dating; and, scientific truths on such matters as medical research, accepted by all mainstream scientists, are rejected by substantial numbers of citizens and many in politics. – “Michael Gorman(Web 2.0: The Sleep of Reason, Part I)”:http://blogs.britannica.com/blog/main/2007/06/web-20-the-sleep-of-reason-part-i/ My favorite conversation last year at “Gnomedex(Gnomedex Opening Night)”:http://www.libraryplanet.com/2006/06/29/gnomedex was when one of the side discussions got into defining what was and was not Web 2.0. No one had a definition and everyone had agreed it was pretty just a marketing slogan. I think I got the biggest laugh when I said, “When I think of Web 2.0, I think of rounded corners.” So I might have to disagree with David…
bq.So… how are those two topics about web 2.0, you ask? Beats me. He DID mention the Internet and Sergey Brin of Google… but he didn’t actually write ANYTHING about web 2.0. Not one jot or tittle. Nada. Nothing. – “David Lee King(A Blog from Britannica Should Know Better)”:http://www.davidleeking.com/2007/06/13/a-blog-from-britannica-should-know-better-or-gorman-is-blogging/ While I didn’t really see anything particularly Web 2.0-ish in his posts, who can say what is and isn’t? But seriously…
bq.Wikipedia is the best known example of improved findability of knowledge. Gorman is correct that an encyclopedia is not the product of a collective mind; this is as true of Wikipedia as of Britannica. Gorman’s unfamiliarity and even distaste for Wikipedia leads him to mistake the dumbest utterances of its most credulous observers for an authentic accounting of its mechanisms; people pushing arguments about digital collectivism, pro or con, known nothing about how Wikipedia actually works. Wikipedia is the product not of collectivism but of unending argumentation; the corpus grows not from harmonious thought but from constant scrutiny and emendation. – “Clay Shirky(Old Revolutions Good, New Revolutions Bad: A Response to Gorman )”:http://many.corante.com/archives/2007/06/13/old_revolutions_good_new_revolutions_bad_a_response_to_gorman.php I was just looking for the origin of the quote about “owning the press” when I found this essay.
bq.The writer A. J. Liebling, who wrote about freedom of the press, put it this way, “The person who has freedom of the press is the person who owns one.” Owning a press gives you a lot more freedom of speech than having to write a letter to your local newspaper, hoping the editor publishes it. It takes more and more money to own a newspaper, and even if you owned one, it is harder and harder to prevent it being taken over by some giant corporation. At the end of World War II, more than 80 percent of the daily newspapers in the United States were independently owned. Forty years later only 28 percent were independent, the rest owned by outside corporations. And fifteen huge corporations controlled half of the nation’s newspaper business. – “Howard Zinn(Free Speech: Second Thoughts on the First Amendment)”:http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Zinn/FreeSpeech_DI.html More than anything else, Web 2.0 is about making what A. J. Liebling said untrue. There are a great deal of entrenched interests who don’t want to see that happen and Michael Gorman is one of their spokespersons. Personally, I think they need him more than we do.