Good and Evil in the Blogosphere
The elements that are now referred to as Web 2.0 have been evolving over the last couple years. The concept of forums have been around for a while but Blogs, Wikis, and podcasts are much bigger than that. As a person working at home I started to try an listen to daytime talk radio to make up for the fact I didn’t have co-workers to bug. I gave up on this due to the poorly researched programs and the ranks of people that line up to hear themselves talk. It was infuriating to listen to.
I then moved to podcasts so I could try and get some content that I found more to my liking. This included the great work of Doug Kaye (IT Conversations ), Leo Laporte (TWIT ), Andrew McCaskey (Slashdot review ) and Adam Christensen (MacCast ). I spice this up with a series of newsfeeds from various sites that I have found useful. Noteable Canadian sites like Stephen Downes , Brian Lamb , and Darcy Norman and tons of others. Not every day is a gem but on the whole it is an excellent menu of choices.
So I arrive at today and must start to drop some of these partly because of the quantity of stuff I was collecting and partly because they are sounding like the same crap I was hearing on the radio.
I discovered that my iTunes folder was approaching 50% of my hard drive (almost 30G) and it was time to do some house cleaning. I like keeping the old episodes of podcasts but it is like the stacks of magazines that you never read so out they went. So out went anything older than 3 months.
The job was made easier by another event. The Adam Curry – Dave Winer Flame war seems to have heated up again. I liked the material they were both putting out but I can’t abide the self-serving drivel that was starting to appear. It was sounding too much like the AM-talk radio that I was running away from. With both sides trying so hard to prove themselves right and the other side wrong. So a quick unsubscribe to all that.
But the war doesn’t end there, it appears the entry in Wikipedia is the latest battleground. Both sides slagging the Wiki project as fundamentally flawed. Well that is not only childish but unfortunate. I love Wikis and think they are one of the great enabling technologies of Web 2.0. They aren’t going to always be right, but they are closer to the truth more often than they are a work of fiction. The fact that they may contain inaccuracies puts them no worse than any other website, most radio and TV news and documentaries, and just about every research paper I ever read. But the trials didn’t end there.
The ‘filtering’ (nee censorship) of various content on the web in educational settings became a large point of discussion. The topic appears to have been opened by and article by James Farmer about his site being blocked. It developed in to a huge conversation with multiple sites carrying opinions on both sides of the issue. Showing at the same time the great and tragic things about the Readable/Writeable Web. The ability to create conversation and the lack of control of content being both positive and threatening (to some) at the same time.
So my faith isn’t entirely shaken, but it is kind of like the 6 month old car – still feels new but there are some odd rattles that are beginning to be annoying. You don’t want to throw it away and get a new one but the problem isn’t covered by the warranty either.
In short not a great week for Web 2.0