Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Anna writing with the weekly three.
1. I appreciate Stoecker's discussion of weak ties and strong ties and how those relationships factor into how information is spread. He puts more of the burden of consequence on the user than on the web as a medium for information. When discussing web-type issues, I often get caught referring to the web as if it is its own, human-free entity which it is, of course, not. I'm glad to be reminded of this and Stoecker's article presents an account of how people are exploiting the power of the web not how the web is exploiting people.

2. Still on Stoecker...he mentions how difficult it is to know if websites or emailed information are reliable. There are some loose parameters, but they are not always accurate. This is a concern for librarians because, as so-called "information gatekeepers," we would like to know the validity of our information. Stoecker vaguely alludes to this, but how would a regulatory website entity operate? By the government (scary!)? How would regulation avoid censorship? There is plenty of printed information that is not true, but, as far as I know, it is not regulated. Why are people so hesitant to believe their screens?

3. I know the WTO is full of greedy cowards, but I was surprised to read that their website is completely devoid of Seattle 1999 information in Smith's article. This magnifies what people in power can readily accomplish. Yet, with the web, people without power can do exactly the same thing. Smith's point is that the equalization of resources will shape politics in the future. Will equalization transfer from activism politics to other types of political activity (campaigning, petitioning)? To a certain extent, it already has. When it does, will there be the same real-physical political activity to match it? Or will people need to follow the web and the more physical world just to get a complete picture?

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