April 25, 2020
My latest article for WIRED offers a suggestion about improving our information response to the current pandemic.
In the piece I acknowledge that Twitter’s algorithms, in particular, have actually been pretty useful in helping to surface otherwise obscure experts who are suddenly intensely relevant to the moment (I document, for example, how virologist Trevor Bedford jumped from 10,000 to 200,000 followers since February).
But convoluted Tweet threads and thumbnail screenshots of longer articles are a poor way for these experts to explore evolving, complicated ideas.
“We need to augment social platforms with a surge in capacity of the original Web 2.0 technology that these upstarts so effectively displaced: blogs. We need WordPress-style sites featuring both easy-to-update static pages and chronological posts. These sites could be hosted by institutions with some degree of public trust and a reasonable technology infrastructure, such as universities, medical centers, and think tanks. Some mild gatekeeping could be performed on the experts granted blogs by these institutions, and critically, IT support could be provided so that the experts could start publishing with minimal overhead.”
I’m not sure if this particular idea will take hold or not. I do believe, however, that we need innovative thinking not just about medical treatments, but also about how we handle the deployment of information relevant to our response.
You can read more here.