To blog or not to blog

I recently read excerpts from two very different books dealing with the same subject. One was from”Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Order” by David Weinberger. The other was from “The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture” by Andrew Keen.

Both Weinberger and Keen wrote about the impact of technology on modern culture. While they each agree that technology, and the internet in particular, has deeply affected society, they completely disagree on whether or not those effects are positive.

Weinberger makes the case for a complete overhaul of standard information processes. He writes about citizen journalists and bloggers being the voice of the people, as opposed to an elite set of individuals deciding what’s important for us. His take on the internet is decidedly in step with “New Media.”

Keen maintains that traditional media “gatekeepers” are necessary for the public good. He writes about the negative impact of men and women flooding the world with useless information requiring no accountability.

You can check out both authors debating the merits of their views on Conversation Hub.

After chewing on the points raised in both texts, I’ve decided that each view is too extreme. It’s only through a compromise between the two that the public is best served.

We do need traditional media gatekeepers to sift through the crap floating around in the world. We need educated and qualified individuals to help us understand the  complex issues we face each and every day.

At the same time, we need tech-savvy citizens to keep major players in check. If traditional journalism is the “fourth estate,” than the bloggers should be considered the “fifth estate.”

Or at least the “fourth and a half” estate.

Credibility is key to giving and receiving information. We must be able to rely on our sources. However, we need the populace to be able to question and investigate what we all take as the honest truth. Corporations are prone to making decisions based on profit. We need average people there to guide major media outlets if they lose their way.

This article from the Poynter Institute illustrates how average citizens want to be more involved with the production and consumption of news.

We need the experts.

And we need the amateurs.

We just have to figure out a way for them to compliment each other; working together for the common good.

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Published in: on February 19, 2009 at 5:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

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