If we examine the developments we went through in our modern history, we will find that the biggest leap of all is the one that took place in the mid twentieth century with the innovation of computers and again in the nineties when the internet became available for everyone. In her book Alternative and Activist Media, Leah Lievrouw asserts that “The internet has grown beyond its initial mode as a vast library and document repository into something more like a cultural festival in which anyone can perform, contribute, comment, and debate”. With the development of internet practices also become more available to people what can be called Commons Knowledge. Commons knowledge offers an alternative to the traditional knowledge creation which we are more often exposed to through schools or colleges, from experts or various institutions. Today how this knowledge is created, distributed and filtered has taken one step ahead.
Whether this new commons knowledge is a good thing or not, I think a great example that well explains this term is Wikipedia, it is an open source knowledge database where anyone from anywhere can contribute, add or edit the information pages on its website. A question that should be asked how reliable as a source of information Wikipedia could be? The answer I think is “it will never be fully reliable” but it will still remain as a reference where people go to seek information. But Why? I think the answer to this has two folds; first the assumption that the contributors to Wikipedia could have truth in their contributions creates some sorts of reliability in the minds of the readers, even if it’s not true, second, it’s easy and almost have every kind of information you would want to know. I think if it was not for the internet, meaning if it had another print like form, Wikipedia would’ve been obscure.
What we need to learn is the ability to recognize a good source of information when we seek knowledge otherwise we will doom ourselves to ignorance. Feeding ourselves with unworthy and untrue facts, and this is where the danger from such sources lie, history can easily be misinterpreted, sciences can be falsified.