It’s all Grey AreaSeptember 28th, 2006 by infomancy
How do you feel about Wikipedia? Is it good, or is it bad? What you may not realize is that the answer to that question is going to end up driving the development of the web as we know it. In a binary world of 1s and 0s, so many of the Web 2.0 technologies are looking rather like .5s. Or are they .4s? .6s?
The problem is that unlike the binary designations to which we reduce our digtial information, real information is much more chaotic. In the world of digital information, those clear divisions between 1 and 0, black and white, end as an ever-shifting landscape of grey. And that’s okay…as long as we are aware of the greyness and have a plan for dealing with it.
Actually, that isn’t a half-bad definition for information literacy – a plan to deal with grey areas of information. Think about it. We love Wikipedia because it is dynamic and can be quickly updated to reflect changing knowledge; about the former planet formerly known as Pluto for instance. At the same time, this very dynamic property that makes Wikipedia what it is leads to inaccuracies – either by chance or intention. You probably recall the issues over the John Seigenthaler article – which Wikipedia does a very nice job of covering in a bit of meta-encyclopedia work.
Good? Bad? Nah…it’s all grey. We had better begin studying all those different shades that are greyscale! Far from being a monochromatic black and white, a greyscale image rendered at 16 bits per pixel results in 65536 shades of grey.