: I’ve heard many worries and complaints about the web and weblogs but this guy needs to get some Prozac and relax. In a ZD story on ABC News (touted atop GoogleNews), some guy notes that MTV changed its online press release about Janet Jackson after her show and so he frets that we can “change history.”
The tools used to populate the Web with content afford us the ability to remake history on the fly. Whatever is posted is as ephemeral as the air around us. It can blow in and out and away with little notice. News stories published in traditional print media become public record unless someone can manage to, say, burn every copy of today’s New York Times.
But a homepage and a headline online can change from moment to moment, and a mistake can be erased long before many people notice. For content producers, this is a good thing, but not for the public. It provides an easy out for the media and lets companies that produce information and entertainment online become shifty….
MTV is not the first to do something like this. Anyone running a Web site can change the facts quickly. Bloggers, for example, can edit anything they’ve ever written. That may be fine for Joe Schmo writing about his goldfish in Poughkeepsie, but as blogs have become more mainstream and major media outlets begin to provide them as tools for news reporters and columnists, the ability to go back and change what’s been said about important events seems much more dangerous….
I predict that we will, in the next two years, see a major libel case involving a blog, and that there will be subpoenas of server and desktop caches and any printouts that were made of the blog on the day it may have libeled the complainant.
Make it two Prozac.
Relax, fella. The web only replicates life, where conversations and sights come and go and people change their minds. That’s the natural state of things. Printing everything for posterity is and always has been the privilege of a few.