Preview: Curating the Crowd-Sourced World in The Austin Chronicle

by Art Fag City on March 10, 2009 Events

Aside from the word “interactive” what key terms can a web professional expect to hear at this year’s South by Southwest? The Austin Chronicle takes a look at a few piquing their interests, and asks the professionals. Notably, Curating the Crowd-Sourced World a panel I will be speaking on this Saturday, has been identified as buzz worthy. A few highlights from the piece below:

Memescape (noun)
The dictionary: thought that maybe we meant “mesocarp.”
The Google: took us to a 56-page online zine, the forward to which begins, “I’ve long wanted to write an essay entitled ‘In Defense Of Conspiriology, Speculative Theory, Pseudoscience And Other Offbeat Heresies,’ or something equally grotesque and grandiose in (blurred) vision.” We didn’t make it far enough to figure out what this had to do with memescapes.

The experts: Tim Hwang, whose March 17 panel, the State of the Internet Memescape: 2008-10, promises to be way more informative than anything we found online, defines memescape (via e-mail) as “the overall collection of all things currently existing or becoming massive cultural phenomena on the web, and the underlying pattern that connects them.” Still scratching your head? Hwang offers another that’s a bit more simple: “Boy, the memescape this past year has really been dominated by LOLCats.” Ahh, LOLCats.

Grok (verb)
The dictionary: Was roundly entertained by our lack of knowledge about science fiction.

The Google: took 0.08 seconds to agree with the dictionary.

The experts: Elisa Camahort — whose March 16 panel, Grokking Bloggers: It’s About Love and Underpants, sent us down this road to electronic embarrassment — was much more courteous. To grok, she says, is “to understand something so intuitively and with [such] empathy … [that] you internalize it.” Like maybe: The electronic world needs to grok that not everyone has read the works of Robert Heinlein.

Crowd-sourcing (transitive verb)
The dictionary: thought that maybe we meant “crowd-pleasing.”

The Google: took us to a page where the Canadian Broadcasting Service proceeded to jump those amazing GI Joe PSA redos way over the proverbial shark.

The experts: According to Gina Trapani, co-host of the March 14 panel Curating the Crowd-Sourced World, “for a blogger, crowd-sourcing is just outsourcing your research.” She adds, “Without fact-checkers, why not?” We journalist types would submit that cutting factual corners is perhaps not the best use of … information democracy. But then we’d likely be reminded that ours is the industry that’s found itself sunk deep into the toilet.

To read the full piece, click here.

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