Q: In Wikipedia: The Truth in Numbers the message seems to be: no longer do the victors write the history books, we do: you, me, and everyone else. How is social media (twitter, blogs) forwarding this idea? What gives someone authority to “write history” and why should we listen to them? Is there a hierarchy of authorities? ie. is what someone like Seth Godin says more important? What should be taken as canon?
A: First of all, why should the victors always be allowed to write the history books? The losers and the underdogs are always the ones with the interesting stories.
While it’s true we can all contribute to history, we can’t all be considered legitimate. Much as I love getting my news from online sites like thestar.com (and even sometimes from twitter) I don’t always buy into it upon first read, everything has to be taken with a grain (or in some cases a ton) of salt.
The instantaneous nature of twitter, blogs and facebook has meant people make mistakes and things are posted without any facts being checked. That being said…a lot of people love Wikipedia for its quick and dirty approach to information.
But (and this may be coming from years of journalism profs pounding this into my head) I don’t think we should just listen to anyone. Just because everyone has a platform to express themselves on doesn’t mean they have legitimate things to say. Bloggers work hard to earn their followers, they have to be putting out something that is worthwhile for them to gain readership because the vastness of the web means there can always be something that’s more appealing. As PR professionals, we’ll have to follow the blogger’s lead and build trust and relationships.
You can follow anyone on twitter, but you don’t always know who’s hiding behind the screen.
As for canon. I hope we all have a bit of common sense left. Personally I just love reading all about Kim Jongil’s daily activities……