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How Social Media Endangers Knowledge

In class, we learned about how the number of people who utilize a product can be influenced by, not only the inherent value of the product, but also the network effect of having multiple people use the product. The more people who are expected to use the product, the more valuable it becomes, and the more people want to use it. One “product” that this idea can be applied to is Wikipedia. As an online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, it becomes more valuable as more people contribute their knowledge to the site.

This article discusses Wikipedia’s flattening number of contributors and blames this dilemma on social media. The author argues that social media overloads people with images and videos, shifting the focus of internet users away from text and towards images and videos that don’t require as much thinking. Although I’m not sure if I agree with the idea that images and videos are less valuable than text, I definitely see the relevance of discussing Facebook in context of Wikipedia’s declining user base. As Facebook pulls in more and more users, its value continues to grow, further encouraging people away from other online platforms like Wikipedia. This definitely puts Wikipedia at risk of losing its inherent value as a platform that runs on user-provided information.

 

https://www.wired.com/story/wikipedias-fate-shows-how-the-web-endangers-knowledge/

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