Time Lapse of the Wikipedia Article for the Virginia Tech Shooting

I'd seen something like this once before for some other news event (Saddam's hanging?) and, as I suspected, someone has one again created a time lapse of how the Wikipedia article for the VT shootings developed over its first 12 hours.

Kinda interesting watching the article grow/change/mutate in a very organic fashion. 

Actually, that makes me wonder – does anybody know a good book about the idea of information as a living entity? 

Richard Dawkin's “The Selfish Gene” is where the idea of the meme, a unit of cultural meaning that gets transferred from person to person like physical things such as genes or viruses, originated but that book is 30 years old.  Surely somebody must have taken this idea further or simply updated it for the Internet age?


[Edit: Somebody has done a video which is like an academic lecture on a Wikipedia article's development over time including an analysis of  vandalism, language, tone and more.  The subject they look at?  The Heavy Metal Umlaut.  Very interesting and well worth checking out! (via Running with Scissors)]

Comments 6

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    Have you heard of (or read) “Wikinomics” by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams? I just saw it yesterday at Indigo, but they have a website explaining/describing the concepts in more detail. It might get close to information as a living entity – it talks about how collaboration has exploded on-line with wikis, you tube, etc.
    http://wikinomics.com/
    I thought of you and Michelle right away when I saw it, thinking “that's totally a book that they would be interested in.” And then I had librarian/information professional guilt that I wasn't *more* interested in it! However, these days I get excited by things like “The library dragon” by Carmen Agra Deedy — a picture book that should be on every children's librarian's book shelf!

    Posted 21 Apr 2007 at 3:19 pm
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Believe it or not, that book is sitting on the hold shelf at RPL for me right this minute! Can't beliee I didn't think of it when I asked my question. But I was sort of trying to think of more philosophical, broad-scope treatments of the issue – I think this one may be a bit more practical, a bit more narrow. I'm still looking forward to reading it though!
    Don't worry about the professional guilt – your preferred book sound better than mine anyhow!

    Posted 21 Apr 2007 at 3:24 pm
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    Bah, Vtech or Operation Cho is a splendid diversion. Anyone else notice that in the same week about 8 marines were granted immunity for their role in the Haditha massacre?

    Posted 21 Apr 2007 at 9:10 pm
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    I wasn't commenting on the importance/relevance of the media/political/societal issues surrounding the massacre but would suggest (as I always do ) that a good place to hear a wide range of viewpoints (including one person getting strung up pretty good for using a similar argument that this massacre is nothing compared to a typical day in Iraq) is MetaFilter: http://www.metafilter.com/60345/
    It's a tough call – from a rational point of view, we know that there are far worse atrocities happening the world everyday, we know more people die from cancer and car accidents in aggregate without nearly the attention and uproar. But people have evolved to be self-focused and since so many people have attended University, so many people feel like they identify with this event. “It could have happened at *my* school. It could have been *me*.) There's also the rubberneck aspect of course, fed by the 24-hour news cycle and some people's natural ghoulish tendencies.
    Thanks for the comment!

    Posted 21 Apr 2007 at 11:52 pm
  5. Anonymous wrote:

    Well, I agree that Vtech is more relatable, but due to the lack of humanizing coverage when it comes to Iraqi dead. it's a shame we can't relate to the bombing (yet again) & killing of those students, teachers and staff of Baghdad University. They were bombed again earlier this month (april 10) previous death tolls at the University have exceeded 65 dead 150 + wounded. Neither of these attacks (or the many others that have occurred ) have led to in-depth coverage by the major media outlets, nor have members of these communities been offered large sums of money for their personal accounts of these horrifying attacks.

    Posted 23 Apr 2007 at 3:33 am
  6. Anonymous wrote:

    It's too bad that we've been genetically programmed to feel closer (and therefore more sympathetic) to others who are most like us (same geography, same skin colour) instead of realising that all humans are the same.
    I came across an article about the situation in Iraq universities – did you see this?
    http://www.iraqslogger.com/index.php/post/2387/Blood_on_Textbooks_Campuses_Under_Fire

    Posted 24 Apr 2007 at 12:30 am

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