What about our collective attitude?

I would like to discuss the statement of Pierre Levy in Jenkins (2004), “No one knows everything, everyone knows something, all knowledge resides in humanity”, which he calls the “collective intelligence,” which is shaped by humans on the internet. An interesting quote, which besides being a perfect Loesje-tile and a brief description of Wikipedia (if I’m not mistaken) is also contradictory.

Nowadays, all news is on the internet. Whether it’s a pregnancy of one of the Kardashians or a serious global disaster, it’s on every (news) site. But, with that comes the conflict. Anybody can tell a story, take a picture or broadcast a video into the world. But with that, you contribute to the collective intelligence.

On the one hand, this is a good thing since we construct this knowledge together and become more intelligent. But on the other hand, it seems quite dangerous because there’s no control on what kind of “knowledge” people bring into the discourse. With this I am referring to fake news or hoaxes, that are being interpreted as real news. Which especially happens on social media.

For example, in the last two major disasters. The shooting in Las Vegas resulted in fake messages about the identity of the shooter, which was fixed later on but the damage was already done and a man received several death threats. Also, within the messages about Sint-Maarten and Irma, there were fake photos of destroyed property and the NOS wrote a lot about depredations which turned out to be a bit exaggerated (and therefore a bit fake).

There are a lot more examples of fake news, but what is more important – and takes me back to Levy – is that these messages, once spread out on the web remain somewhere in our collective memory and sometimes also in our intelligence. Since it is difficult within al the news stories to remember, what was true and what false.

In conclusion, I think people should be more critical. I don’t believe in more gatekeeping systems because than can easily shift to censorship and that’s just wrong. But a change in attitude for people (which is basically everyone) who decide to spread a message, think twice about your impact. Because actions have consequences.


  • Jenkins, Henry. “The cultural logic of media
    convergence.” International Journal of Cultural
    Studies 7.1 (2004).


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