Enlightenment or Webspierre?

Via Peter Suber, an interesting counterpoint between Weinberger and Keen.  Weinberger:

The people who make my life on the Web so positive intellectually include a brilliant but crazy college drop-out, a practicing medical doctor who is interested in information theory on the side, a struggling working mom who has a keen eye for bulls—, a theologian at a tiny seminary I’d never heard of, and a guy I know nothing about but who on a mailing list for five years has explained in detail the implications of FCC rulings. Most of these people would not, could not, or did not make it through the traditional credentialing and publishing systems in the areas they’re writing about. They are not “experts and professional authorities,” but I’d be a fool to ignore this “talent” just because many of them are “amateurs.” Likewise, our culture overall would be foolish to stick within the safe boundaries of the old credentialing system…

 Keen:

[T]he hits on blogosphere are much less intellectually diverse than the hits on the New York Times book list. Engadget and Gizmodo are blogs about new technology gear — iPods, BlackBerries, iPhones etc. TechCrunch and Lifehacker are geeky technological blogs for technology geeks. The Huffington Post is, I admit, a valuable read — although it seems to me to becoming more like a traditionally authoritative newspaper than an unedited blog. Meanwhile, Boing Boing is a surreal and supremely inane compendium of miscellaneous knowledge — listing stories about kidney donor hoaxes, a pedagogical tract on “How to Kiss” and, a game-theory piece entitled “an economic analysis of leaving the toilet seat down.” . . . .Web 2.0 is a miasma of trivia and irrelevance. It doesn’t matter.

As I’ve suggested before, I’m with Weinberger.   I just don’t trust the old arbiters of relevance to pick up the most important issues on their radar.  To take but one axis of representation: they’re just not diverse enough in terms of social class.  Note that Keen’s “filter” is dominated by those who’ve “made it,” while Weinberger makes room for those who haven’t.

One thought on “Enlightenment or Webspierre?

  1. The Huffington Post is “a valuable read” and BoingBoing is “supremely inane”? It’s basically a confession of Web ignorance.

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