Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Collaborating Online

Dear Cain,

Your article “The Rise of the New Groupthink” really made me think about collaboration in groups.  The number one concern when working in groups is that instead of bouncing ideas off of one another, the group as a whole comes to an uninformed decision because there is no need for individual creativity involved.  Personally, I have been guilty of groupthink in the past because it can be easier to go along with the popular opinion than think of something that is better or more creative than what everyone has already agreed to.  In fact, when you are in a group you may not even have to think.

However, Shirky’s article “Personal Motivation Meets Collaborative Production” talks about how collaboration can be a great idea if done properly.  Shirky brings up the popular Wikipedia as an example, which shows how collaboration can be effective.  I believe that Wiki is a great invention, although there are some setbacks.  Some may say that the information is not reliable because of false information that is put on there, which is another downfall that comes with collaboration.  You cannot trust just anyone, and even more so in an online environment.  

This leads me to Keen’s “The Great Seduction” where he address the same type of concern with false information.  People can feed into whatever the media throws at them, and this can be unsafe because there is no one to officially filter what is truth and what isn’t.  Believing and trusting in other people’s information (which may or may not be true) leaves us vulnerable and unsure. 

I think the only way to counteract groupthink is to practice being aware of your surroundings and question everything.  I think people should always stop to ask themselves if what they see or hear seems real, or if it can be fabricated content that they are subconsciously buying into so they don’t have to think for themselves. 

Connie Zhen

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