October 19, 2005

The amorality of Web 2.0

What comes to mind when reading Nicholas Carr's take on web 2.0 mirrors some of my thoughts on the subject. Let me expand it with a take on politics.

I am not impressed with web 2.0 to the extent that is potrayed in the blogosphere/news(mainstream news actually kind of ignored this, thankfully).

His take on wikipedia is incisive and cutting. The editing is so amateur that most of the content just begs for an editor. A lot of the content on wikipedia is in the form of stubs. Searching for something on the net, wikipedia shows up in the results but beyond the 1-2 lines of information that I already know, its not useful to me.

Most wax eloquence at web 2 and whatever is connected with it but damn, its leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Too much saccharine in the collective circle. Too much backslapping, an unholy alliance.

Eg: About a year back I read about the decline of Japanese experts in America. These experts take part in conferences organized by the japanese and american governments, chambers of commerce and cultural orgs. But the change from the 70's has been that there is less independent authoritative work and more "I cite you", "you cite me" work being done in this sphere. They are the stating the obvious about Japan.

Just when web 2 evangelists think the party is getting started, the EU, countries like China, Chad, Iran, Zimbabwe are pushing to get control of their country's root servers. Why is this worrying? If they did get control of this, they wouldn't have to monitor and build such repressive firewalls and restrict the net activity of their citizens. If it does happen, thanks to the EU, many countries will have access to web 0.5. Whoa, that's exciting, ain't it!

I'm all for blogs and blogging. (I'm writing this, ain't I?) But I'm not blind to the limitations and the flaws of the blogosphere - its superficiality, its emphasis on opinion over reporting, its echolalia, its tendency to reinforce rather than challenge ideological extremism and segregation.

And this is so visible in the example I came across just recently. The oildrum posted this
http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2005/10/12/142623/72 "Informal survey of the Political Blogosphere". It made some brief comments about the conservative blogs being short and uninformative and liberal, left blogs being detailed about their discussion of peak oil, oil crisis etc. This reinforces to your visitors what kind of a site you are. They think of rightists concerned about peakoil as anomalies or circus creatures. But that is not what is my problem. It is the comments to that post and elsewhere in the site that really gets to my nerves. Its almost as if the commenters want everyone to give up living a modern life and go milk goats on a nowhere farm. Hello, if do that, please go ahead but don't expect me to join you anytime soon. Just because they want to oppose America and its current govt, they will endorse the views of anybody who rants against America (Mugabe, Chavez et al).

This after a certain level becomes indoctrination. Brainwashing. Inability to think in a balanced way.
Report Warns Democrats Not to Tilt Too Far Left.

Political polarization hurts U.S. leadership. The ability to exert influence is also a matter of political will. One of the great changes in today's America is political rancor, which accelerated during the Clinton years and has grown since, reducing friendships and collaboration across the ideological divide. A new
Council on Foreign Relations report warns that partisan politics is endangering U.S. primacy. At a time when the world must draw the contours of a new era, Americans are fighting over the pen. "The tough questions are not being probed," the report says. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB112930932876468919.html.


No comments: