Weekly Blog #8: Wikipedia Part II & Other Thoughts

Sometimes social media and the online world overwhelms me and I just want to read a real book, write someone a letter with pen and paper (and send it to them via snail mail), and read the actual newspaper. Lately I have been especially thinking about the uses of Facebook and my personal life, especially as related to Dunbar’s Number. While I have more than 900 “friends” on Facebook, I probably only care about 100-150 of them. Sometimes I see a “friend’s” Facebook status update and I have to take a few minutes to think about who that person even is/how I know them. Yet this person, whom I clearly barely know/know anymore, can see all my recent uploaded photos from last weekend’s festivities and my status update about how I’m excited for happy hour with so-and-so. 

That said, I’ve been thinking about “de-friending” people I don’t really know well or have lost touch with, etc. Not to be mean, like people I have known saying, “So-and so- is a b*tch so I am de-friending her on Faceook — so there,” but rather, because isn’t kind of strange to let these people have so much access to my life? Well, anyway, I haven’t “de-friended” anyone yet, but it may be coming. We shall see… 

Moving on. While I love learning about social media, last week’s class was a lot to take in.

During last week’s class I defnitely learned a lot about Wikipedia that I didn’t know before. The biggest thing was how much Wikipedia is used to quickly report breaking news, pretty much as it happens. From now on when breaking news occurs, I will look forward to checking Wikipedia to see if a page has been created right away. However, I am still not convinced that what will be posted will be entirely accurate. For example, last week in class when Garrett showed us the example on the Wikipedia page about the London subway/bus attacks on July 7 a few years ago, we saw that the first “breaking news” entry was not really accurate. I most certainly trust a more traditional news source more, even an online version.

Discussing  this makes me think back to Clay Shirky’s “Here Comes Everybody” and how he talks about everyone having the opportunity these days to be a “media outlet.” At first this concept excited me because social media has brought so much opportunity for information sharing — opportunity that never existed before. But now I think it has gone slightly overboard, especially when it comes to determining credible sources online, Wikipedia being one of those sources.

I will end with this additional thought about something we talked about in last week’s class: I’m not sure I totally understand crowd sourcing. Last week’s lecture on this was a little confusing and I hope next week we can further clarify what certain things mean, such as community vs. crowd, etc. Interesting to note that Wikipedia’s entry about crowd sourcing basically uses the two words interchangably.

Here is an interesting video on Crowdsourcing 101. This helped me understand the concept a bit better!

Until next week —


About Jessie Gillman

This blog was created for my social media class as part of my graduate program in PR and communications at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. In addition to being a grad student, I am a PR/comm professional at Environics Communications where I focus on clean energy/environmental issues, education and women's health. I am also a huge book lover, an avid traveler, a big Philly sports fanatic, and I love Yoga.
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