You know those hushed and quiet rooms lined with bookshelf after bookshelf after bookshelf, each packed tight with adventure, knowledge, inspiration and excitement.
My mother used to take us to the Maple Ridge library in British Columbia, Canada when we were young. I remember holding her hand as we entered the hallowed hall, feeling that sacred feeling, smelling the earthy aroma of hundreds of waiting volumes, the adrenaline of possibility, of an endless journey anywhere I wanted to go or places I would never have dared dream of alone.
And it was up to me, myself alone to decide where to go. The librarian would always help me but she would never direct or tell me what to read, no never. Neither were there clues to guide me save the alphabet and my curiosity. No logos, no tag lines, no signs, no billboards, no flashing lights, no announcements…just me and my young mind.
Alas, the internet has radically altered the way we seek knowledge and entertainment. It is great in so many ways, but as with everything, there are dangers. Social media, in particular, has decoupled and confused knowledge with commercial and personal content often thinly veiled – sometimes ridiculously so — advertising and promotion. Spawning native advertising is ever more prolific and never transparent enough. Truth in advertising is stretched, omissions commonplace and the full and honest truth an increasingly rare currency indeed.
That is why it is critical the internet’s library, Wikipedia, remains free of advertising. Wikipedia is as sacred a vault of knowledge as any library, unbothered and undistracted by the suasion of advertising.
Wikipedia is a not for profit organization as befits the world’s font of knowledge. If you haven’t donated to their current campaign, get out your wallet, your purse, collect pennies on the street corner, tell your neighbors, and donate now!
Histrionic? Perhaps, but the fate of intellectual freedom and a sustainable world may just be in the balance and that’s not nothing.