leave out da noise, bring in da funk...


More musings from my notebook...

What value do we place on information? If information is free are we more willing to filter through junk? Is there an expectation if we are paying for something it will be of a higher quality? I think about this as I ponder about the idea that somehow this new breed of citizen journalists will change the world. Citizens have no obligation to hold themselves to a code of ethics - they can do as they please - they do not need to fact check (but sometimes it seems that journalists feel they don't have to either). This isn't to say that there aren't people out there who hold themselves to a higher standard - there are remarkable people out there who influence and inform without any formal training. But that's just it. They're remarkable people. They will excel no matter what the medium.

My major concern about a major shift to citizen journalism as the main source of information lies in the fragmentation of information - with information becoming so specialized, with the obsession that everything is news and that anyone can be a journalist. Not everyone has the ability to create things of quality. A hammer and chisel do not a skilled carver make. It not just about access to the tools, it's also about ability and talent.

This all seems slightly hypocritical of me. Here I am publishing content to the web with no filters and no (direct) cost. I have access to a seemingly infinite audience, yet there are limits to this audience. Sure, I can write about whatever I please, but at the same time what I please to write about is only so interesting or valuable. I could market or promote my writing more competitively, but for what gain? I may have access to my own publishing channel but I don't have the time or the resources readily available to make it worth the effort. I'm not getting paid to write this - and I don't really have the desire to try to compete with other media outlets. I am supplemental, not a replacement.

Yes, I realize that the real competition for traditional media outlets by citizen journalists comes en masse rather than on an individual basis. But how do we filter through all the noise to find something valuable? How do we wade through all the new channels to increase our knowledge and understanding?