Two BBC posts in one morning may lead any readers that stumble across these posts by accident to believe that this is a blog all about the BBC, its not … although if you cut me I do bleed red, white, blue and BBC radio 4. However after writing the previous post I dipped my toe in the blogosphere to see what others were saying about the BBC’s iPlayer and came across a post describing social bookmarking links, new to the BBC, as a “stain on the Internet“. So, should these bookmarking links have a place on the internet? And more specifically, should they have a place on the BBC?
Social bookmarking has a lot of potential, although there are without doubt major pitfalls. Many of the stories that gain credence on sites such as Digg and Reddit seem to be those which appeal to, for want of a better term, techno-liberal-survivalists. Whilst the technological aspect of many of the postings is unsurprising, the hardcore group that do a lot of the postings, and get their postings on the front page, should not be considered a cross-section of the population. Watching the popular posts for any period of time produces an almost contradictory image of the social bookmarking community, whereas on the one hand they believe in a liberal agenda regarding freedom from copyright and the right of the individual to do what they like, on the other hand they also seem to lap up any old survivalist right-wing conspiracy theory.
Maybe the introduction of social bookmarking links on sites such as the BBC will enable a broader cross-section of society to join the social bookmarking community, make authoritative stories more prominent on social bookmarking sites, and allow the social bookmarking sites to produce a more rounded view of society. Alternatively the BBC may just be introducing naive web users to some rather dodgy stories with little authority. Unfortunately I feel that it will be the later. What is really needed in conjunction with the promotion of these sites is a push on educating the public in assessing the worth of information that is found on the web.