A friend mentioned to me today that it was important to get only the facts, a completely unbiased opinion straight from the source. That means turning to the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times in the case of media, or the Bible in the case of Christianity. This is as opposed to getting the news from individual sources, such as blogs with a feedreader such as Google Reader, and sites based on user-generated content, such as Slashdot.
In my view, we have held to a single source of information only because it was the sole practical way of getting information. We had a monarchy because there was simply no way for people to practically govern themselves. People are dependent on what technologies are available.
For the LA Times and NY Times, they write the news in one place, and then send it out to thousands upon thousands. This was the only practical way to do it at the time. There’s no way the individual people could select exactly what they want to read, and then have the newspaper only layout and print exactly what the reader wanted, and nothing more. That’s far too much customization for each person!
But that’s exactly what’s possible today. With a decent newsreader, all a person has to do is pick and choose his or her sources. From millions of blogs, there are some really good ones. They’re not just biased rants, either. They’re eyewitness news reports, pure facts and good writing that’s nothing short of traditional journalism. Of course, there are writers on the other end of the spectrum, including personal blogs, like mine here.
Personal blogs provide the specific insight and opinion necessary to make an informed decision. One could even argue that the old media was never fully unbiased to begin with, since that’s rather impossible. Today, we have the amazing opportunity to get lots of information in an organized fashion, and then derive our own opinions out of it. It’s truly a huge step forward in the democratization of the world.
Take Wikipedia. It’s entirely user-generated, but it has some of the best content in the world. There are errors, just like any other publication. But it’s democratic. The community makes decisions and figures out what stays and what goes. It’s factual. Any controversial information is tagged with a citation request, and many sources are included in the articles. Many people routinely use Wikipedia whenever they want to learn about something, and it has met their needs.
What do you think?