A History of “The History” of Breaking Benjamin

I chose to do this post on the post-alternative rock band known as Breaking Benjamin. They have been my favorite band since I heard their first album Saturate. They made their debut in 1998 but have gone through a variation of different performers in their first few years.

Their page wasn’t created until 2005, allowing seven years of information to get bottled up, and is currently being updated to this date. There are a total number of 6,399 edits on this page with about 8 recent “distinct authors” if that’s what you want to call them. It was quite peculiar when I went through a list of the recent edits that were made on the page. Many of the 6,399 edits were between users who were pretty much just undoing what the other had just posted. It almost creates a worry for the user regarding whether or not to trust the page with so many edits being corrected back and forth. The page will probably change while the user is on it trying to get information. If he refreshes his page about that topic, he’s going to have to change some of his information to consider it accurate. Henry Jenkins, author of the article “What Wikipedia Can Teach Us About New Media Studies”, describes this particular website as a perfect example of Collective Intelligence. The article seems to have a decent amount of information about Breaking Benjamin’s discography and progress over the years but has merely 2 sentences about what musical style they are.

Henry Jenkins continues by stating “What holds a knowledge community together is not the possession of knowledge — which can be relatively static — but the social process of acquiring knowledge […] The Wikipedians bond by working together to fill gaps in their collective knowledge.” This is what allows the information to be considered collective intelligence. Various authors assisting in filling in the blanks that other editors have either overlooked or missed. This is also why Jenkins mentions how different people can feel so opposite about their edits on various pages. Jenkins states that “They are encouraged to take an inventory of what they know and what they can contribute […] On the other hand, participants are encouraged to see themselves as members of a knowledge community and to trust their collaborators to fill in information they don’t know and challenge their claims about the world.” Jenkin’s description of a sand castle being like the Wikipedia page also helped give me an idea of just what collective intelligence was, which is essentially allowing other people who you don’t know to help with the castle or the “collection of intelligence” without any prior credibility.  This page was a great example of collective intelligence on the music portion of the page and is hugely popular, as one can see by being viewed almost 50,000 times in as little as a month, but doesn’t allow much room for opinion, except if you’re posting your particular interpretations of the lyrics or band decisions.

Works Cited:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breaking_benjamin

Jenkins, Henry. “WHAT WIKIPEDIA CAN TEACH US ABOUT THE NEW MEDIA LITERACIES (Part two)”. Web log post. Confessions of an AcaFan. N.p., 27 June 2007. Web. 13 February 2014.