Sunday, July 18, 2010

Of internet, self restrain and the un-edited world

We all know what the Internet has done to content generation. Everyone with a streak of writing in him has taken to the Internet. Blogs, twitter, personal pages, flickr accounts galore! Even I am one of them. I get a kick out of the fact that my creations always have an opportunity to be seen. They are out there if someone is interested to appreciate. There are no gatekeepers between me and the world that is hungry for content...there are no editors!
The other day I picked up a book that was published about a decade ago. There was a stark difference in the quality of work I see around me today (including mine) and this book. Mind you this book was edited, by a gatekeeper. Then I started thinking, may be editing is necessary. Editor, the one person whose solely responsibility is to ensure that the content that passes through him is of highest quality, and coherence. Yes he was biased at times, he did behave like he owned the place. After all, the print was a scarce commodity. But not today, thanks to the Internet. There are no costs involved in getting your content published. I can merrily upload sub-standard content on the Internet. Keen people will keep visiting my pages with expectation and I will be wasting a lot of their time. The more silly words and pictures reach people through the Internet, the more tired they get.
In school, if I had to prepare a speech, I would spend 3-4 hours in a library and I would have enough content for a 30 min speech. Now, I spend days together browsing through incoherent material out there, ready to be 'googled!' So what do we do about it?
The answer may lie in self-restrain. If there is no one else editing your content, think twice before you press the upload/ submit button. Ask your self these questions -
  • Would you read this if this came printed in a book?
  • Would this help the audience in anyway?
  • If you had just enough space for one article or one photo or one video, would this be the one?

I see that we have a problem of plenty everywhere. We need serious self-policing to get some discipline and quality into what we do. Think about it, in different contexts, business, traffic, TV channels and let me know what you think.

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