We used to trust experts to point out distinctions between influential art and pop crap, between people who touch our future and mere celebrity, between noise and news. Now, we are increasingly trusting ourselves to make these distinctions and find our own sources of enlightenment. Can democracy and culture thrive in an ever-more selective reality? Is there really wisdom in crowds or just a sinking to the lowest common denominator? Does it even matter? And is it nothing new?
I have no answers, just a short farewell to disappearing gatekeepers of cultural discourse. As a librarian, I wonder where raw sources of history will eventually come from. As a designer, I delight in the creation of participatory information spaces. This is about my conflict.
I am a user experience designer and professional librarian. I am constantly torn between playful surfaces and meaningful, relevant information that helps people live consciously and well.