Web 2.0 – the tool of extremists and gossipmongers

April 20, 2011

The next ‘phase’ of online communication, web 2.0, is based on the theory/understanding that user-generated content (UGC) will provide the majority of content found on the World Wide Web. The principle is simple enough, but the connotations and consequences of the World Wide Web being comprised mainly of content generated by those who feel strongly enough about a subject could have some frightening consequences.

Perez Hilton is widely regarded as the most successful and influential independent (he has no ties to a bigger corporation) blogger on the net, a title backed up by statistics. Fair play to him; he’s richer than me. But do we really want the most influential person on the net to be someone who feels that Charlie Sheen’s latest escapade is more interesting than the latest economic statistics? Ok he’s got a very good point but you can see where I’m coming from.

Lets take this issue to another level. The English Defence League page on blogspot.com is updated regularly with stories about how ‘Islamaphiles’ are taking over Britain. Now I’m a fairly educated man and the closest thing rural Surrey will come to producing a communist (I voted for Labor). But even I had to stop myself from directing expletives at a judge who gave a Muslim who burned a poppy reef a pathetic £50 fine. This is the power of the Internet; a person who believes anyone with political perspectives further right than Nick ‘Sellout’ Clegg should be shot can be, even for a second, coerced into the way of thinking of some moronic, racist, skinhead. Now think about the effect this could have on someone with less solid political perspectives.

My point is that it is those with extreme agendas who are most likely to try to grab themselves a metaphoric megaphone by creating content for the Internet. This is bad news. You don’t get much middle-of-the road, everything’s-ok content on the web. Therefore we are faced with the frightening possibility of Perez Hilton and most worryingly extremists (of any nature) being handed a global platform upon which to voice their agenda. Am I the only one scared?

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