The Wikipedia Blackout Will Actually Make Us Smarter

Wikipedia BlackoutIf you thought the blackouts across the East Coast were bad after Hurricane Irene, you ain't seen nothing yet. Starting at 12 a.m., the English Wikipedia and many other websites including Google began to protest SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (PROTECT IP Act) for 24 hours. Yup, the great Wikipedia blackout is in full effect! Run for the hills! Or ... at least the REAL encyclopedia.

I know, it's weird to have to go without a service that so many of us are used to using all the time. While I'm against the notion that these bills could do a good job of regulating free speech on the Interwebs, I have a hunch that this blackout could actually be something good. In fact, I betcha that the Wikipedia blackout will actually make us SMARTER!

Walk with me on this one ...


A world without Wikipedia means that Internet savvy users like you and me are going to have to look toward real, authorized sources for our information. When was the last time you actually checked out a legitimate encyclopedia (remember Britannica, anyone?). Don't get me wrong, I used Wikipedia for quick facts all of the time, many of which are accurate. However, it's easy to forget the site is a collaborative encyclopedia that isn't always on point.

Then there's the notion that now that we're without it for 24 hours, many people will have that much more free time! Come on, you can't tell me you don't surf the site every once in a while just checking out random topics. How could you not?! It's such a wealth of knowledge. Without Wiki, we can explore real things in the real world and, consequently, gain tangible experience.

Without the popular site as a resource, many fans will have to ask real live human beings their questions. I know, it's a tad bit annoying not to be uber self-sufficient. If you're anything like me, you'll have to put aside your pride, stop pretending you know the meaning of every fancy word your coworkers use, and actually ask. I feel smarter already just thinking about it.

Whether or not you're actually concerned about the two bills in question, the Wikipedia Blackout will make us all a bit smarter simply by shoving potential legislation in our faces. I can just see it now, younger boys and girls (OK, and maybe your adult friends) asking their peers what big words like "legislation" and "copyright infringement" mean. Sorry, but you're gonna have to actually look 'em up in the REAL dictionary if you want to be spot on.

Do the SOPA and PIPA bills concern you? Can you imagine a world without Wikipedia?


Image via Wikipedia

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