As an adviser to Jay Rosen’s newassignment.net I thought the best way to help the project, and learn in the process, would be to participate. So I signed up to interview Howard Rheingold for NewAssignment’s Assignment Zero, a crowdsourced inquiry into the nature of crowdsourcing.
The full interview is now posted. I didn’t, in truth, do things a whole lot differently than I’d do them were I conducting the interview for Salon or any other more conventional outlet. What may be less conventional is what happens to this material from here on in. My interview was one of dozens that are now up at the Zero site. The material is going to be somehow shaped by Assignment Zero itself, and also I think for Wired, and it will be fascinating to see how Jay and his staff orchestrate everything. It’s not the pure anarchy of the blogosphere; it’s not the traditional writer/editor pipeline of the old-fashioned newsroom. It’s — something we might be discovering. Or at least learning about.
It was a pleasure talking to Rheingold about the state of the participatory Web. I have always found him far less a starry-eyed idealist or utopian than he is sometimes painted. He’s been thinking about how technology and online social practices “coevolve” longer than virtually anyone else, and his perspective continues to be incisive and challenging. Here’s a choice passage:
Crowdsourcing is a name for something that’s new. And the name is connected to the business world. So it’s going to have that connotation. I’m going to bet that “crowdsourcing” is what most people know it as five years from now. And “non-market-incented commons-based peer production” is going to be for professors. Good marketing is engineering memes that really work. You can’t argue with that.
[tags]howard rheingold, technology, crowdsourcing, assignment zero, newassignment.net[/tags]
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