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Celebrity Deaths and Online Social Networking February 9, 2007

Posted by Noelle Archambeau in Informal Learning.

What can the death of Anna Nicole Smith tell us about online social networking and collaboration? I found the following headline intriguing, so I read the story: “Anna Nicole Smith’s death sends Wikipedia into overdrive”.

In the story, this is what I found to be most impressive:

“In the space of two hours, more than 300 edits were made to Smith’s entry. As the news became more widespread, multiple edits were being made per minute.”

This goes to show where Wikipedia got it’s name—wikiwiki means quick in Hawaiian (if you have been to the Honolulu airport, you have probably taken the WikiWiki shuttle to get from one terminal to another), and you have to admit that 300 edits in 2 hours is a quick way of posting and updating information.

Of course there are some setbacks that come along with this quick ability to post information, the biggest of which are inaccurate information getting posted and vandalism. CNN has high-paid fact checkers that make sure information is correct before it is broadcast or put up on their website. However, Wikipeidia relies on people like you and me to make sure that the information is accurate, and most of the time we do a pretty good job. Of course, you are never 100% certain whether the information on Wikipedia is accurate, but then again even a highly reputable news source like the NY Times has printed inaccurate information.

So where will you go to keep up to date on the latest news about Anna Nicole Smith: traditional mediums like radio, tv, and newspapers, news websites like fox.com and cnn.com, or will you check out social networking sites like blogs and wikis?



1. Bobbe Baggio - February 9, 2007

WOW…you are good and so is the topic….how very interesting….that is social capital in action… How do we switch form the mind frame of what is important to us to what is important to the learner….that is really what this is about….what draws you in..what gets you excited….it reminds me of a situation in one of the discussion boards at Capella…bottom line is people went nuts…emotional….at each other…BUT…this was a significant learning experience…..when was the last time you were really emotionally (afffectively) attached to the learning…

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