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The ‘Wikipedia Syndrome’

12th November 2010

OPinions

I believe the net was always about putting information into a place where we could all get to it easily, but has it just made us into a bunch of experts? And; if we are all experts who’s listening and who believes any of it anyway? It’s the ‘Wikipedia Syndrome’, anyone can add to it, so everyone doesn’t quite believe it to be true and it’s always taken with a pinch of salt.

The snag with everyone in a room being an expert is you are potentially going to get several differing opinions on a single subject, the potential snag with the internet is you are going to get several hundreds of thousands of opinions – so who is right? Who do we believe? Is what’s on the internet swinging from a position of knowledge, to a position of opinion? And what is an opinion worth anyway?

Take the number of blogs out there, they have risen dramatically! Well, when I say that; what I mean is, I imagine they have, I believe they have, in my opinion the number if blogs which there now are on the internet must have risen – I have several myself so numbers must have gone up!

I did a Google search to find out just how many there are really now. “how many blogs are there 2010” was the search term I added to Google, 660,000,000 results came back! Are all these result true, accurate and reliable? One site gives me a figure; another site gives me another figure – who is right? One site said it is hard to gauge, then went on to give me a figure anyway!

The growth of Blogs has assisted us in all becoming experts on something. By ‘blog’ I mean a web-platform on which to post both text and images, simply, easily and for free – not to mention from almost every device on the planet. So we can all put our opinion online. Is that good? Is that a good thing to be able to say what we think all of the time, at any time, from almost anywhere – and to everybody? Many people have got themselves in trouble for doing that!

If you know a bit more about the net and things you could make yourself a website to give your ’expertise’ a little more credibility and start a site on any subject you want. This site will then, in time appear on Google’s listings when people search for it so you will be part of their 660,000,000 results and then maybe they will stumble across your website and take what you say as fact!

I am an ‘expert’ on the Stratford Upon Avon & Midland junction railway and have a website on the subject. The down-side of that is that I can’t research on the net anymore on the subject because when I enter those details into Google – guess what, my website comes up! I do know my subject having started that website from scratch 5 years ago, I now give talks on the subject and people ask question of me on the subject.
Wikipedia has worked hard to shake off that aforementioned syndrome. Does everyone, on every subject, on every website or blog on the net know their subject inside and out and are you getting truthful, reliable, honest information every time you search?
Mmmm… I’m not sure – but that’s just my opinion!