In 2.0 Attitude my theme was the clash between traditional standards for authority and “expertise” and the much broader, populaist standards for knowledge that have emerged with web 2.0 and social media. So an article in this week’s Technology Review titled “It’s not a revolution if nobody loses” that covers some of the same ground got my attention. Clay Shirky has a new book out Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations. It’s in the genre of books favorable to social media, etc, etc.
Evidently in the book Shirky reminds us of the “100 years of chaos” following the introduction of movable type. By all acounts the dissemination of new ideas that came with printing overturned the domination of knowledge by the scribes of the church. The result was great social turmoil and even a lot of blood-letting.
Frankly, I think something similar is in the offing with the internet. We have really just started down the road to a future of ubiquitous communication. Instant communication of all forms of information among virtually everyone on the planet is nearly an inevitability. Social turmoil from all that cross-cultural exchange seems, to me, a certainty, and that is almost always accompanied by a certain level of violent conflict.Add to that the all too evident global stresses of the 21st century, and you’ve got the makings for rocky times.
Nobody would advocate returning to the pre-literate world before type, and the internet is not going back in the bottle. Personally, I take a leap of faith in asserting that the world will be a better place after the jump.