Posted BY: Stephan Helgesen
We’re now firmly in our fourth decade of the new information age. Most of us have donated our Encyclopedia Britannicas to Goodwill and shelled out a cool grand or more to buy a lightning-fast computer or smartphone capable of whipping through billions of bytes of world history to retrieve any imaginable information from our simple Boolean searches. Aren’t we proud of ourselves? All we had to do to find out who won the battle of Megiddo or discover when the first baseball was made was energize our fingers and proceed to the Emerald City of the internet and ask the great and powerful Oz, Google, or its royal courtiers: Facebook, Twitter, et al.
No more of that pesky storytelling at granddad’s knee in front of the fireplace. We’re done with the page-turning of some musty, heavy book. No more stumbling over an interesting little-known fact on our way to our destination. Nope. Our keyword search string has bypassed all the historical rest stops. The magical search engine that could have taken us straight to point B. We are now in the company of another would-be encyclopedia, the all-knowing, all-seeing, Wikipedia, or one of its cousins, purporting to be the bearer of truth. The world of words has come to us in a matter of seconds.