Monday, November 06, 2006

Wikipedia

So Diana Peterfreund was talking about how she's clearly "made it" since she's now referenced in Wikipedia. Jealous of the so-called cyber fame, I decided to do a search for Mancusi. While no clever pop-culture references referring to me popped up (sigh), I did find an interesting entry for my step-grandmother, Kathryn Hays. As many of you know, she plays Kim on As the World Turns. The article mentions my step mom, hence the last name Mancusi was identified, but also adds some interesting information about my stepsister Kate.

It says the following:

Her granddaughter, Kathryn L. Wells, models for Abercrombie and Fitch from her Boston home.

Wait! What? She does? How was I never told of this? And also--I swear the last time I visited them they lived in New Hampshire! Not to mention the fact that Kate's actually in college in some midwestern state -- nowhere near Boston. And before that she went to boarding school in Missouri. And seriously, if she currently models for A&F I swear my family's keeping it a deep, dark secret. (I gotta get my hands on a catalog!)

Anyway - this is a silly example, but it proves a VERY important point. (And no, it's not spend more time with your family or you'll suddenly be learning stuff about them off of Wikipedia.)

The information on the Internet is often taken as FACT even though much of it's never been verified or vetted. Some random person wrote that article. And someone else will read it and assume it's true. And while yes, who cares if my stepsister is currently a model in Boston or not, other entries could cause much more catastrophic errors. What if journalists refer to Wikipedia for their research? Then they write articles based on false information which are then uploaded to the Internet. Then the false information appears to be vetted by a major news organization.

Also, entries can be CHANGED. While this is good in a way and assumes a checks and balances system, it also is quite scary in a Big Brother is watching you type of way. After all, in 1984, Winston's whole job was to find old news articles and change the facts in them to go along with what was currently being done by the goverment. (We are at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eurasia.) Isn't that very scarily similar to what's capable of being done by Wikipedia?

Anyway, just food for thought. I'm off to email my stepmom to figure out if Kate is/was a model and if so, am I entitled to any discounts at Abercrombie and Fitch. ;-)

Mar

3 comments:

Diana Peterfreund said...

So true... I think I'd be much more freaked out by an article about ME than one mentioning one of my characters!

TJBrown said...

I love wikipedia. I am sure there are flaws and errors here and there, but I am not sure that regular encyclopedias don't have flaws and errors too.

I am looking forward to seeing your cover:)
Teri

Tempest Knight said...

I always have fun googling my name. It's amazing some of the weird stuff that can come up.