Category Archives: democratization of information

Democratizing Information and Speak

I continue to read, ponder, and research the role technology and society has played in the democratization of information.  I am trying to understand if there is a difference between the democratization of knowledge and the democratization of information.  What is certain is that communication technology has changed the communication and information models.  What once was a many to one model has shifted to a one to many model.

I am also thinking about the success of YOUmedia.  YOUmedia is about so much more than books, writing and print, but they are still a part.  Other forms of information creation, beyond the printed word (and even including the printed word), were so complex that the layperson could not create or share them.  If they could not create than they could not communication.  Their voice was rendered mute.  Technology has changed that.  Just like everyone is note a gifted painter (me for example) the same would hold true for a reader or writer.  Everyone does not have the gift of writing, or reading for that matter.  But everyone does have a voice.  They may share that voice through other means.  And herein lies the power of social and communication technologies.  The masses of silent citizens are suddenly given a voice.  A voice to…

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die. (Auden)

There is currently a campaign by Laurie Halse Anderson taking place on twitter #speakloudly about the attempted ban of her book Speak.  What has happened as a result, is thousands of people rising up to let their voices be heard.  They are rising up to share their story and how their story has been affected by Speak.

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Web 2.0

Tonight I am thinking, again, about the impact of web 2.0 on the democratization of information.  To think that this simple tool helps break down information barriers on a massive level is inspiring.   I hope that we, librarians, continue to embrace the radical trust necessary to encourage the people to control the creation, organization, preservation and dissemination of information.  Yes, we have a role to play, but it really is their information!

I only wish that more 2.0topians would discuss the democratizing effect of web 2.0 on information.  Every persons’ voice has it’s place.

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Experts versus people

Today I am thinking about the wisdom of crowds versus that of experts.  The wisdom of crowds is typical known as statistical groups.  The theory holds that large groups of people (the larger the better) are statistically more accurate than experts.  This is ONLY true when any one person within the group is likely to be more than 50% right.

This principle underlies the philosophy of our democratic system.  So my question is what role do experts and/or librarian play in this type of information system?  Do we provide a check/balance to the crowd? 

I guess from my point-of-view, I believe that people are good.  That they want to add to the information flow in an honest manner.  That they don’t change wiki pages they know nothing about.

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Times have changed

I wonder if because I live in the times, that I have trouble seeing all that has occurred in the last 5, 10, 20 years.  The world has truly changed.  Information is becoming so prolific the world over.  I stand in utter amazement of this.   The internet, and social media, has removed so many barriers to information. 

Yes, the digital divide is real and needs to be dealt with, but just to think that so many people in the world had no access to an encyclopedia or other information resources and now they do.  I am learning to see information as a true resource, like clean water or food.  It is here that my mission lies.  I want to ensure that these resources get into the hands of everyone.  Information poverty is real and cyclical like other forms of poverty.  Lets change that.  Lets bring information to the people.

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The Democratization of Information, partial post

The Democratization of Information

Information has traditionally been ruled and disseminated by a select few.  Social media and the Read/Write web have changed that.  The power of information has been taken over.  The people have risen up to claim what is rightfully theirs.  Information has been democratized by this technological revolution.  Social media allows statistical groups to decide.   “The resulting judgments of these “statistical groups” can be remarkable accurate.  If we have access to many minds, we might trust the average response, a point that bears on the foundations of democracy itself”(Sustein, 2006, p.17). 

Social media is allowing majority rule in terms of information creation and dissemination.  The reality is that prior to this revolution, knowledge was controlled by an oligarchy.  But now, the power of information and knowledge is controlled by the people.  A prime example of this is seen in the Streisand Effect.  This example shows that when someone tries to remove information, the people rise up. 

Why is it that so many people are opposed to Wikipedia?  Why do they still stand in opposition even after studies show that Wikipedia is more accurate than traditionally vetted encyclopedias?    What is really in question here?  Is it that we don’t trust Wikipedia, or that we don’t trust the fundamental principles that democracy rest on?

This is an incomplete thought and/or post.  More will follow, but I am so excited to think about how the control of information has truly shifted from an elite few to the people.

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Filed under democratization of information, information activist, social media, Streisand Effect

Still in progress

I’m still working on a post about the democratizing effect of social media on information.  But until I get it right, I have a question.  Do the same principles that we apply to democracy apply to Wikipedia and the like?  I guess what that means is if we the people can run this country, can we get information right on Wikipedia.

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A teaser for tomorrow

I hope to write about the democratization effect of social media on information.

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