As one of their last assignments, students in my Writing for eMedia course have to reflect on the process of creating a small wiki. They set up an original site and then a classmate (sometimes two) will edit and add to their work, while they do the same on someone else’s wiki.
More than ever this semester, I am seeing comments like this in the final reflection:
- I didn’t want to take away from their vision
- I don’t like messing with other peoples’ work. I feel like this is something you did and who am I to come and change it?
- I didn’t like the fact that I had to fix someone else’s project because it took away from their creativity and I didn’t want to change their whole creation.
Apparently I didn’t harp on the collaborative nature of Web 2.0 enough, because students still see their projects as sacrosanct and fear trespassing on others’ work. Already some students have gone and undone all the changes their partners made!
So here, now, I want to state for the record: the big deal about Web 2.0 is that it IS a team effort. It’s not static. It changes. It’s interactive.
We don’t tweet into the void, ideally; someone replies or retweets, and 140 characters take on a life of their own. We love Pinterest partly because it’s so easy to REpin interesting finds and make new connections.
To my students: let go and accept that sometimes changes will be for the worse. That’s part of Web 2.0. Eventually, someone else may come along with an even more brilliant edit. Crowdsourcing is the wave of the future. Two heads are better than one. We don’t have to know everything: other individuals can fill in our gaps until our original, small wiki is a rich, deep, sprawling site with insights we never would have stumbled upon.