I came across Digital Maoism by Jaron Janier through Boing Boing, and I must say that Lanier seems to be most upset that people are changing his entry in Wikipedia. He also seems to be upset that the collective takes away from the personal glory of the individual. In the supposed race to be the most Meta site, individual voice and a human side to the Internet are lost. He looks down on the collaboration of ideas and the aggreggation of the Internet.
It seems that Lanier bashes “online collectivism” because credit is taken away from the individual…namely him. As an educator, I feel that collaboration is one of the most imporatnt tools that I own. If anything, I feel that online collectivism gives the Intenet a more human side because what has been created was created by individuals to help access information and increase learning. Most of the people who create all of this information are not out for credit or personal glory. They are interested in the process of learning and doing something right for the sake of doing it right. That is the main reason Wikipedia works. They are not motivated by money, but rather the personal satisfaction that they have made accessing information easier and they have brought people together. No, I don’t believe that it is necessary to have the ultimate Meta site or that it should even be wanted by the general publc. Like anything worth having, you need to spend time with what the Internet has to offer and make it work for you.
I hope the recent backlash towards the social Web does not lead to extended policies against its endless possibilities as a learning tool. Essays like Digital Maoism only add to the fire that online collectivism is to be feared.