Just because we can now access any news source from anywhere in the world doesn't mean we will. Just because we can set up RSS feeds to deliver the latest information specific to our interests doesn't mean we trust any of it. And just because anyone can post on the web, this doesn't necessarily mean media and communication have become more democratic. After a decade under seige, are we beginning to see the expert to fight back? Is the conventional wisdom that a broader marketplace of ideas will generate 'better' information under threat? Writing in the Guardian Media section this week, Anthony Lilley ponders whether it is sometimes useful, when you want to learn about something, to go to someone with expertise. Is this what Web 3.0 will be all about? He refers to a comment by Jason Calacanis: "Web 3.0 is the creation of high-quality content and services produced by gifted individuals using web 2.0 technology as an enabling platform. Web 3.0 throttles the 'wisdom of the crowds' from turning into the 'madness of the mobs' we've seen all too often, by balancing it with a respect of experts."
Is it not the case that audiences want some enduring news source they can trust, rather than a squillion partial voices? In the UK, the majority of audiences rely on a single primary source, the BBC, even today. In a decade's time, surely key individuals (trusted anchors and columnists) will remain ‘optimal passage points’ for news, but these may not be the same key individuals as was the case in the twentieth broadcasting era. How will the balance between participatory media and credible expertise unfold? Can the wisdom of crowds and the judgement of the few be reconciled in new ways?