Who to trust?
This is the Wikipedia generation. Peer information is often considered more reliable and trustworthy than the top-down message. It’s far from wishful thinking: studies showed that the survivors of the World Trade Center tended to be the ones who relied on peer rather than official information. It may be anathema to the cult of the imperial leader in politics or the boardrooms of media corporations, but it is the future.
source: ft.com [sub required]
Disregarding the horrendous ‘Wikipedia generation’ coining attempt, I was struck by how much the p2p concept has pervaded into the mainstream. I had a look around the net on this topic, but nothing really worthwhile at first glance. Sure, there’s observations regarding the crowd-source type news networks built up around digg, the mobile phone to net video sites. These though chiefly focus on information distribution, not necessarily information quality and subsequently it’s trustworthiness (particularly in my experience of Digg anyway, but that’s an aside).
The world-wide ridiculing of the current US president is surely the best example of this challenge to supposed superiors. Cynicism in the system is pretty much ingrained these days – or maybe a new hierarchy of trust is replacing the old political one, the question then is what the new one consists of. If it is largely a movement to a kind of meritocratic new media – p2p information still requires publication after all – does it mean we get International subject experts or cross-border idealism? Is it really merit, or simply a self-fulfilling meme galvanised by a crowd willing to act as sheep?