(Migrated weblog post from LSR)
Indeed, whoever said that they would probably need to come again and think about it twice. Specially after seeing web links like these two: News junkies find Wikipedia more than encyclopedia and Praise for ‘weather nerd’ comes from blogosphere. Certainly, over the last few years (And maybe now even more so) we are starting to see how new, and yet more powerful, ways of spreading around information and knowledge are taking place all over on the Internet. Cases like Wikis or Weblogs are just two examples of some of the most impressive given the fact that they have democratised the way information is made available to everybody on the web.
As we went ahead in time we have seen how both tools have enabled people to have their own voice and formed opinions available to millions of people in no time and all that with a permanent record, that later on search engines would manage to find information in them. That is why Wikinews has become so popular lately. That is why weblogs cannot longer be ignored. Take, for instance, the example from Brendan Loy and his weblog. Out of nothing who would have said that just before the tragic events took place in New Orleans he actually predicted it all and let the whole world know about it? You may think that it was pure chance, since he is not fully qualified for the job, but he certainly had lots of hard facts at his disposal that he used and that cannot be denied. Yet, everybody ignored him and his comments. After all who is going to believe somebody with such peculiar About me description ?
Yet, he was right. He still is right. And like you I am sure that it has crossed out your mind what would have happened if the powers that be would have listened to what Brendan had to say. I am sure that lots of tragic stories could have been avoided. We would have probably been talking about something else the last few days than what Katrina has managed to do. That is why even though there was a time where we would be ignoring content stored in Wikis and Weblogs that time is now part of the recent past. There is a new wave of spreading information, and most of the times, the right information. Yet we tend to ignore it and obviously face the consequences. So after the recent set of events and seeing how web sites like Wikinews are coming along, I doubt that we can ever afford not listening to what is happening out there. We eventually should re-focus ourselves and start taking both means of spreading information a lot more seriously and consistently. After all there is probably a good and refreshing new way of spreading the information, other than the traditional media. Key question would be though …
… Are you ready to listen ? Will you ignore it the next time around ? … Hopefully, we will not. Otherwise we may face the same sad stories like the ones we have just seen all over the place taking their share once more. And, to be honest, I doubt we would be able to afford it once again.