Back in February, I spoke at a roundtable discussion about the intersection of new media (specifically Wikipedia) and social change. A fun and diverse group of techies, nonprofiteers, and social media junkies came together to chat about ways that new technologies can be leveraged to encourage social activism.
One surprising discovery came when –amongst a crew of self-proclaimed advocacy nerds– we admitted that very few of us had actually edited a Wikipedia page. The general diagnosis? There is still an invisible hand reigning over the Wiki model; and until this is dissolved (likely as a gradual epistemic change), some semblance of a traditional authorial hierarchy will remain.
But does a hierarchical model (albeit a flexible one) help or hurt a knowledge collective, particularly when its goals reach beyond the online world?
Well, that’s a bigger question that a dozen people and an hour and a half quite obviously couldn’t crack…
Thanks to Ben Rigby for bringing this question (among many others) to light in his new book, Mobilizing Generation 2.0: A Practical Guide to Using Web 2.0 Technologies to Recruit, Organize and Engage Youth. He explores social networking sites, blogs, mobile tech, wikis… and takes on the behavioral trends of Digital Natives in the process (a daunting task, to be sure).
Thanks to danah boyd of apophenia for the recommendation. You can download her contribution to the book via her blog.
Also, if you’re in the Boston area, visit the Ethos Roundtable blog for future events (there’s one tonight)!