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Anybody’s content… parva componere magnis Saturday, 6 October 2007

Posted by R Garfield in Bemused, People.
Tags: , , ,

This is a return to a favorite topic of mine to bore people with: the way-too-level playing field that the Internet offers people.

Don’t get me wrong … I like the fact that everyone has a voice. I do think – there go my left-wing leanings again – that everyone has a right to have their voice heard. I really like sites like wordpress.com, for instance, which let a fair number of people access the mike, and croon away. Or Wikipedia, which lets even someone like myself edit and correct information. I try to limit myself to topics I actually know about, so I’m not a prolific editor.

My problem tonight isn’t with people having their voices heard. Instead, it’s with sites like Associated Content, or more specifically, the use some people make of them. Associated Content is billed as “The people’s media company.” Essentially, it allows someone to put their content online, in multiple formats, and potentially monetize it.

Fine by me. Have your voice heard and earn a buck or two. It’s all good, right?

Not so, young grasshopper.

My problem is with the fact that AC is billed as a ‘media’ outlet, and yet, some people use it as they would a personal blog. ‘Media,’ to me, brings to mind television, newspaper and radio – and Internet sites like WikiNews. You know, like ‘mainstream media,’ ‘left wing media,’ and some blogs. News, or at the least, well-thought-out reviews, not personal rants.

In researching a store credit card, on Blogger or wordpress.com, the title “Why not to apply for the (store name) credit card” would clue me in that it might just be a personal rant. However, on a media site, I expect a bit more of a fair and balanced report … or what I was looking for in the first place, a review.

I don’t expect someone old enough to apply for credit crying because she maxed out her (store name) credit card, didn’t read the notices the card company sent her, got charged a large late fee, and calling everyone that doesn’t agree with her that (store name) is inherently evil for treating her this way “ignorant.”

That’s fine … on a blog. As media, it sucketh mightily. Far too level a playing field.

Actually, it reminds me of a quote that sums up the Internet’s free speech dichotomy far more succinctly than I will ever be capable of doing:

“Just because your voice reaches across the world does not mean that you are any wiser than when it reached the end of the bar.”

-Edward R. Murrow



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