Establishing Legitimacy in An Ever Changing Platform

Katie Kelly

Pigg’s observations of a writing process in relation to the use of social media can be likened to one trying to start their own business. They must find a market base for their product, in this case their knowledge, writing, and contribution. Once that is found they must establish the connections needed to provide their product. Pigg demonstrates this with Dave’s collection of fellow fathers on twitter and blogs along with supporting material throughout the rest of the internet. Then they must notify their potential market of the availability of their product, such as Dave did in the network he built and establishing “Fatherhood Fridays”. And finally they must find a way to maintain their current product with potential and simultaneous proliferation and growth. How very interesting that these new roles that have been established outside the classic employment and organization paradigm still seem to follow similar processes and structures to those of independent performers.

In a lot of ways, I call to question the credibility of these new roles that online, freelancing writers hold. It may be a given that if one writes about a topic, they are decently informed and educated in said topic. However, thanks to all the identity issues that come with an online presence (the stealing of, the impersonating of, the lack there of, etc.), it is a valid fear that the knowledge and contributions made by others could potentially be ill-founded and incorrect. It was clear from the description of Dave building his dad-blog that a lot of effort went into to legitimizing his role as a father who can blog. Part of that legitimacy comes from having a child, I’m assuming. But in the case that Dave for some reason wanted to be a dad-blogger without actually having a child, the same effort could be put forth into faking it. Pigg mentions that Dave spent time learning the norms of the online dad community, which could be done with or without a child for a potential dad-blogger. In this case, his research and information used to create blog posts would be a compilation of other sources about being a father, which may not be incorrect information per say. But is it truly new knowledge contributed to the community when their only source of writing inspiration is that of existing knowledge and what they can infer from that existing knowledge?

This is the problem with credibility when discussing online platforms for sharing knowledge and writing and other forms of collaborations. If it were a textbook, the knowledge would be heavily vetted prior to use the textbook in a classroom. However, there is unlimited access to many online platforms of collaboration with little to no vetting by the platform itself. It is up to the readers to properly verify the legitimacy of the posting, which may or may not happen. Much like a business, these writers with online postings will on perpetuate on one of two methods, neither of which rely on validation of credentials. Either a large enough following that gains something from the postings (information, entertainment, etc.) or just a commitment to continuously putting forth one’s ideas.

While I value the use of online platforms for collaboration, there are many problems that need to be overcome so that writers with valid knowledge to add to the massive pool of the internet don’t have to be questioned. Fake news and clickbait is a plenty and construing how we collaborate. Our information must be valid for it to be useful and built upon.



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