Pink Floyd

What is collective intelligence? It sounds like something pretty sophisticated, doesn’t it? Henry Jenkins believes that, everyone knows something, but no one knows everything. Jenkins defines collective intelligence as, “…the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others towards a common goal” (Jenkins, part 2). Modern society is full of collective intelligence. With so many communication tools at our disposal, collective intelligence is fairly easy to come by, take Wikipedia for example. A website where users can contribute their information and publish it to a central location seems very convenient, but the fact that almost anyone can edit these article does raise some red flags.

Growing up, my father had always stressed that I should listen to “real” music – not some compilation of sounds jumbled up from a computer to make music. He got me listening to artists and bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dave Matthews Band, Carlos Santana, and Peter Gabriel. Of all the bands he showed me, my favorite was certainly Pink Floyd. Given that my father grew up listening to Pink Floyd, I had no reason to doubt him and what he had told me about them. The Wikipedia page matches the same information that he had told me. Everything from their rise to fame in the 1960’s to the breaking up of the band and beyond is correct and I would think that because of the number of edits the page has had since it began in 2001.

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With almost 16,000 edits and with over 9,000 edits coming from the top 10 percent of active users, it’s safe to say that Wikipedia’s collective intelligence on Pink Floyd is accurate.

The Pink Floyd Wikipedia page is also one of the most frequently visited pages of all of Wikipedia. Within the last 30 days, the article has been visited 233,385 times! The amount of web traffic alone should say something about the accuracy of the article. With that many people visiting the page, the information needs to be as precise as possible.

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From generating so much web traffic, Wikipedia does not grant permission for just anyone to edit. There are certain criteria that a user must meet before being able to edit this article, which can also attest to the validity of the information given to us in the article. In this case, collective intelligence is a beautiful thing and has become an everyday occurrence.

Works Cited:

“Pink Floyd.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Feb. 2014. Web. 16 Feb. 2014.

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. 12 Feb. 2014.

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.