Thursday, February 10, 2011

Do you trust LOLcat?

             After reading Nicholas Carr’s blog about Web 2.0, it reminds me again of how much technology has changed our lives, and how many jobs are being lost because of computers and the internet. Machines have replaced people on the assembly lines and now amateurs with a netbook are replacing professionally trained writers who research for years to get all the [correct] details into an encyclopedia.
            Jeff Howe also explored the concept of crowdsourcing and how it affects professionals. His first example was that of photography, and how amateur photography has practically trumped professional photography, simply because you can find “quality” material online, either free, or for a very minimal price.
            The idea of crowdsourcing is scary for me personally. My dream job is to host a radio show – but with satellite radio becoming more popular, and podcasts available for free online, what am I going to be left to do? Traditional radio could disappear because some highschooler on his laptop records a weekly gossip show and posts it online for free.
            At the same time, this rapid gathering of information, posted by all sorts of people, could help me in my position (if it still exists). I can get multiple angles and get them quickly, and in turn broadcast them to my listeners. And the people I get the information from might not even be professionals…
            I guess what I’m trying to say is that I want to trust who I get my information from, just like Carr. I want to know that the facts I have a correct the first time I relay them. I think that these “open source encyclopedias” will eventually hold us back, which is unfortunate, because they seem to be winning out over trusted, professional sources – and why? Just because they’re free.


  1. I think the other advantage of Wikipedia vs. a professional source is their manpower. With the entire web able to contribute, how is a company of hundreds, or even thousands of people expected to be able to produce information at nearly the same rate? Wikipedia can cover so many topics so fast it's hard to compete with. For better or worse, I don't see traditional encyclopedias (even if they were moved to an online format) making much of a comeback.

  2. Sasha

    If the internet community is taking our conventional jobs, the best course of action is to swim within these community. We need to adapt to the information age in creative ways. Also, I don't believe traditional radio is going away too soon. There is stiff competition from Sirius and companies like that but radio is still much alive.

    I'd like to add that while you don't pay for these sites individually, authors, site owners, etc. do get paid through a host of other ways. Thus, there is money made in these communities.


    I think traditional encyclopedias will be strictly used by researchers and scholars...people who need to validate information.

  3. I agree with you on crowdsourcing being a possible problem as far as taking jobs because of it being free. However, if you want to be the one who attracts attention you have to be like those free ones. Radio to me is too filled with commercials instead of music that's why people tend to go towards satellite. However, radio won't go dead. Not too long ago, there was a proposal to make people pay for radio. It didn't get far though because people aren't willing to do that when we're not getting what we're paying for.

    As far as Wikipedia goes, it's very well-known that we shouldn't trust it for sources on academic papers. Therefore, I wouldn't worry so much about amateur writers replacing professional writers. We do however need to give credit to these professional writers who research for years to give correct information.