Right now, the Southern Illinois University Carbondale is in the middle of a contract negotiation dispute which has resulted in a strike by the tenured faculty. As one would expect in a situation such as this, the faculty has urged its supporters to be vocal on the union’s behalf and some students took to the SIU Carbondale Facebook Fan Page to urge a resolution to the contract dispute.
Unfortunately, the SIU Carbondale administrators of the page began deleting those messages. One report noted that they began by deleting only the messages of support for the faculty, but later began deleting all messages related to the dispute – and even went so far as to ban some users. Read more…
As the Web 2.0 model has shifted to content being generated by users (often referred to as “crowdsourcing”) as opposed to administrators, it’s presented a somewhat novel problem of proofing the contributions of the masses.
The “Bewildered Herd” is a term attributed to Walter Lippmann who is one of the early scholars of journalism and public relations. Lippmann’s contention was that the public was essentially too inept to govern itself and needed to have smart people make up its mind for it in order for society to function. To wit:
“The public must be put in its place, so that it may exercise its own powers, but no less and perhaps even more, so that each of us may live free of the trampling and the roar of a bewildered herd.”
(Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion, 1922)
Crowdsourcing (originated by Jeff Howe of Wired) is explained by Clay Shirky below:
On the whole, user-generated contributions are amazingly effective and have accomplished a powerful amount of the work in building the Internet. There are, though, occasionally problems. Here are some of the sites I try to watch regularly for inaccuracies and misinformation:
- Google Local
- Yahoo Answers
- Google Sidewiki
Which crowdsourcing sites do you monitor for inaccuracies?
Memes have long been the coin of the realm online, and now the tools are available for the average geek to act on his/her geeky impulses to mash the detritus of pop culture together to create new art forms. It looks like this:
Sword fights = Cool. Lightsabres = Cool. Sword fights + Lightsabres = Nerdgasm.
In the course of my academic and intellectual pursuits (read: goofing around) I ran across an entire subculture of Youtube mashups where digital video artisans (yes, I mean artisans) photoshopped lightsabres into movie swordfights. The process probably began with the Star Wars kid, and has gone deliciously viral. Here are my 10 favorites:
1. Count Roogan vs. Inigo Montoya (The Princess Bride)
2. Cap’m Barbosa vs. Cap’m Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl)
3. The Spartans vs. the Hordes of Xerxes (300)
4. Arwen vs. the Nazgul (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)
5. Freddy vs. Jason (Freddy vs. Jason)
6. Deadpool vs. a Room of Thugs (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) – PS – I demand someone photoshop lightsabres over Wolverine’s claws IMMEDIATELY.
7. Indiana Jones vs. Egyptian Thug (Raiders of the Lost Ark)
8. Benjamin Martin vs. British Soldiers (The Patriot) – Incorporates blasters too! Sweeeeeet.
9. Beatrix Kiddo vs. O-Ren Ishii (Kill Bill)
10. Robin Hood/Little John vs. Prince John’s Thugs (Disney’s Robin Hood)
[Blog Title courtesy the Linkbait Generator]
I wrote a while earlier about the impact of the new era of transparency on BP’s continuing public relations crisis. Since then, a couple of other new phenomenon caught my attention:
- Google Sidewiki: This somewhat-forgotten tool created by Google to accompany webpages and help contextualize them with user contributions has a bit of content that isn’t exactly kind to BP.
- The Black Oil Firefox Plugin: Designed by design agency Jess3, this add-on to Firefox makes the pages viewed by your browser look like a redacted document from the CIA as it blacks out references to British Petroleum (the blacked out portions eventually animate and drip ala crude).
These two items may seem like frivolous distractions, but they’re not. They’re exquisite reminders of how little control we exercise over the web, particularly as the content that populates it and the tools that browse it become more and more sophisticated and oriented toward individual control.
You can spend all the time you want tweaking your website until it’s just the way you want, but what you create may not at all be what ends up being delivered to the end user.