Ball point pen on the morning newsprint

Andrew Keen's Book "The Cult of the Amateur, How The Internet Is Killing Our Culture" hypothesizes that Web 2.0, where content and information are increasingly being controlled by amateurs, is a very dangerous step backwards for our culture. Where in the past, information was disseminated by learned people who had to go through a screening process of acquiring degrees, convince a publisher or being hired by a publication, now anyone with a computer (yes, even I'm doing it) can start publishing their thoughts. Sites like Wikipedia, where the content is written and edited by amateur volunteers are often filled with grammatical errors, misstatement of facts or even vindictive slander. The more polarizing the subject the more policing/editing the topic will require. That's where 53 year old software developer, Johnathan Shilling comes in. He's the unofficial, unpaid, overworked volunteer watchdog of Wikipedia's, Senator Hillary Clinton Biography Page. If someone inserts the words lesbian or communist, or the phrase Murdered Vince Foster, he's there to delete it. Armed with a slew of books he uses as reference, he approximates that he's made 1,600 edits to the Senators Bio page. He can't tell you how many hours he's dedicated to keeping the page factual, "I do it in the morning when I get up, I do it in the evening when I get home. Sometimes I stay up late at night."

While Andrew Keen's book is thought provoking, I think that freedom of speech trumps his gate keeper to knowledge argument. Yes, there are loonies on the web, but Keen doesn't take dedicated people like Schilling into account. This guy is doing yeoman's work in the web 2.0 world, helping to keep respectability for the rest of us in the blogisphere.

  1. May 29, 2008 -

    Interesting! I don't know him, but I like your portrait of him! Good to know guys of his ilk are out there!