Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Kirby analyzes the transformation of Web 2.0 and the new forms of media that have emerged from a new era Digimodernism.  One of his many examples is Wikipedia the largest free encyclopedia on the world wide web.  The video below gives us an explanation on the foundation of Wikipedia and it’s current uses. After more than 10 years of existence Wikipedia only continues to grow.

Kirby defines “digital modernism” as a pun. It is the “centrality of digital technology; and the centrality of the digits, of the fingers and thumbs that key and press and click in the business of material textual elaboration.” This is WIKIPEDIA. According to Kirby, we’re simply typing not writing.  We are utilizing computers to “type” messages instead of taking a pen to actually write something meaningful. We’ve entered a new era where children might learn how to type before they even learn how to write.

Now to analyze Wikipedia as Kirby sees it:

He mentions that “without onwardness, Wikipedia could not exist: it’s textual expression of the open-source wiki software platform” (Pg.119). It is the idea that onward text is something that is always growing and incomplete. Wikipedia is just that, its editable features allow it to continue to grow. Kirby mentions that its “onwardness…is disguised: you call up an article and it “looks finished,” (pg. 117); however, by looking at its history you’ll be able to see the versions that were there in the past. It’s in constant evolution. This is Web 2.0, ever-changing and transformative. 

Wikipedia is a space of knowledge. We visit the site for quick and easy explanations and historical contexts. Nevertheless, what makes Wikipedia unique is also its downfall. Its interactivity lies in the fact that people can contribute to the webpage. They don’t have to be recognized as leading researchers in that field to make changes to the site. It is what makes Wikipedia so unreliable to educated individuals or as Kirby says “it’s as reliable as the random guy on the street or random guys in the pub multiplied by whatever you may like” (pg. 113). He wants us to understand that the fact that anyone can edit Wiki is detrimental to the site itself. It loses its credibility.

Lastly, Wikipedia is a great representation of the power of the www. It can take us from one link to another to another. We are curious about where we can go next and click on link after link. It’s tangible content “driven by technological innovation” (pg. 51). What is interesting about these texts is how they function now what their actual content is. It’s a different way of thinking. It’s digimodernist thinking. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for bringing up Wikipedia and Kirby's mixed take on the project. Not too long ago, actually, Jimmy Wales (co-founder of Wikipedia) came to Berkeley to give a Regent's Lecture, and some things that I took away from his talk were the importance of the overarching foundation (Wikimedia) and the alternative (more expert?) groups on Wikia, as well as Wikipedia's growing international reach.