Tag Archives: wikis

Stop, Collaborate, and Listen…

After just finishing my first year in college as a journalism major with a news editorial concentration, I’m still not sure where exactly I want to end up in the media world, but I know I want to be in it. I find the industry greatly fascinating.

Ever since I took Introduction to Journalism my freshman year of high school, I was hooked. Just learning about the power the media has over the whole world was exciting and intimidating at the same time.

Five years later, that excitement is even stronger. This past semester in my Mass Communication class, we had to read a chapter out of the book Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. In that chapter, it explained how collaboration can really help businesses get new ideas and increase profits.

That got me thinking: What if we used wiki’s to help solve the bigger issues, such as ones the government is dealing with? Now I realize that would be difficult because the businesses that use this wiki idea had to put lots of their company information on the wiki to give enough information to the people that were trying to help. So, I’m not sure how the government could go about doing that without it being a national security issue, but I’m sure there’s way (cliché alert but if there’s a will, there’s a way).

My ideas that I suggested in my Mass Comm class were things like using wiki’s and collaboration to figure out more efficient strategies for the war on terror and ideas for finishing the still unfinished clean-up of Hurricane Katrina. The business in Wikinomics that used wiki’s would get idea entries from people all over the world including people that wouldn’t normally be considered qualified for the job that was needed to be done.  Ideas would be flowing in from neutral parties that wouldn’t need votes for the next election or other reasons to protect a public image like many politicians do.

I just got back from a vacation in the Pacific Northwest. My uncle lives in Kirkland, WA, which is a small town right outside of Seattle. We took a road trip around the Olympic Peninsula. Surrounded by the constant green scenery and mountains, the tree-hugger in me came out. Between all the green, we would see logging trucks pass us on the road and go past patches of what I like to refer to as “tree graveyards” where only the stumps and woodchips were left behind from loggers. It was kind of a reality check while driving through the otherwise lush coastal area.

Another reality check that followed us around was the headlines about the continuing oil spill in the Gulf. Ahh! It stresses me out just thinking about it and what it’s doing to the environment down there. With all the major government and BP officials running out of ideas, what are we going to do to stop this? Well, there was a bright spot in the reality checks that followed us: a story in USA Today told about a retired engineer who traveled down to the gulf area to lend his ideas about how to stop the spill. I got super excited when I saw that because it was embodying my idea of using mass collaboration to solve problems. So, my newest idea for wiki’s and mass collaboration: BP should create a wiki with all of the information about the oil spill and that exact drilling site and have engineers, oil-specialists, and other problem solvers from around the world submit their ideas to help end this major crisis using the new media’s massive power to do a massive amount of good.

-Tara McElmurry


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