Sunday, April 10, 2011

Monkey #54329, Reporting for Duty

Not that he would care, for I am in no wise a credentialed expert licensed to form such a judgment, but I do agree with Andrew Keen's The Cult of the Amateur. I would rather read well-edited books than unedited ones and receive information from a vetted source if I'm basing my vote or my finances or my health on it.

I also enjoy reading a gossipy, fun blog or one that shares opinion that, living in the conservative heart of Texas, I'm not likely to encounter that often in real life. I turning to non-experts for information in these cases or indulging in the internet equivalent of a coffee klatsch? I would argue that these are substitute social encounters rather than information-gathering forays.

I have a real dictionary in my desk that I use when I write (although I use an online one for writing e-mails to go with SpellCheck); however, unlike my parents, I don't own a multi-volume encyclopedia. After reading The Cult of the Amateur, I will probably eschew Wikipedia in the future. I understand and agree with the need to financially support and intellectually support the continued production of researched, well-written information--whether that be electronically or physical books, disks, etc.

I find myself irritated by the book, nonetheless. I can find the same kind of nonsense on my local radio stations, venues such as The History Channel, in the bookstore, and in my own family. Is bad information any less dangerous in those venues? Any less pervasive?

Are blogs, Facebook, etc., about expertise or conversation?

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