In less than a generation, the Internet has altered the daily lives of individuals in ways few would have conceived in its nascent stages. Initially a playground for the computer savvy, the world of blogs and tweets has given equal voice to anyone with a computer and a web connection.
It is also where Americans increasingly look for news and information -- according to the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, last year the Internet surpassed newspapers as the source of national and international news, nearly doubling from the year before. Barack Obama channeled the power of the Internet to reach millions during his presidential campaign, and his administration has launched innovative methods to use the Internet to govern.
Pro: Andrew Keen, author, The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet is Killing our Culture Pro: Farhad Manjoo, journalist for Slate, author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society
Con: Jimmy Wales, founder, Wikipedia Con: Micah L. Sifry, editor, Personal Democracy Forum
Andrew Keen is the author of three books: “Cult of the Amateur,” “Digital Vertigo,” and “The Internet Is Not The Answer,” which the London Sunday Times acclaimed as a “powerful, frightening read” and the Washington Post called “an enormously useful primer for those of us concerned that online life isn’t as shiny as our digital avatars would like us to believe.”
Farhad Manjoo is an author and a staff writer for Salon.com.
Manjoo graduated from Cornell University in 2000. While there, he wrote for and then served as editor-in-chief of the Cornell Daily Sun student newspaper. Before taking a staff position at Salon.com, he wrote for Wired News. Manjoo frequently writes on new media, politics and controversies in journalism.
Manjoo is the author of the book True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society, published in March, 2008.
Micah Sifry is co-founder and editor of Personal Democracy Forum, a website and annual conference that covers the ways technology is changing politics, and TechPresident.com, an award-winning group blog on how American politicians are using the web and how the web is using them.
In addition to organizing the annual Personal Democracy Forum conference with his partner Andrew Rasiej, he consults on how political organizations, campaigns, non-profits and media entities can adapt to and thrive in a networked world. In that capacity, he has been a senior technology adviser to the Sunlight Foundation since its founding in 2006.
He is the co-editor of Rebooting America, an anthology of writing on how the Internet and new technology can be used to reinvent American democracy, co-author of Is That a Politician in Your Pocket? Washington on $2 Million a Day (John Wiley & Sons, 2004), author of Spoiling for a Fight: Third-Party Politics in America (Routledge, 2002) and co-editor of The Iraq War Reader (Touchstone, 2003) and The Gulf War Reader (Times Books, 1991). His personal blog is at micah.sifry.com.
Paul Solman has been a business, economics and occasional art correspondent for PBS NewsHour since 1985. He answers viewer questions on The Business Desk. He is also the presenter for and author of "Discovering Economics with Paul Solman," a series of videos distributed by McGraw-Hill.
Solman is part of a national consortium to teach "Financial Literacy" to Americans at every educational level. His work has won various awards, including several Emmys, two Peabodys, and a Loeb award.
Jimmy Wales is an American Internet entrepreneur best known as the founder of the Wikimedia Foundation, the charity which operates Wikipedia.org, and as the co-founder of Wikia.com.
Wales received his Bachelor's degree in finance from Auburn University and his Master's in finance from University of Alabama. He was appointed a fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School in 2005 and in 2006, he joined the Board of Directors of the non-profit organization Creative Commons.
In January of 2001, Wales started Wikipedia.org, the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, and today Wikipedia and its sister projects are among the top-five most visited sites on the web. In mid-2003, Wales set up the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization based in St. Petersburg, Florida, to support Wikipedia.org. The Foundation, now based in downtown San Francisco, boasts a staff of close to thirty focusing on fundraising, technology, and programming relating to the expansion of Wikipedia. Wales now sits on the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, and as founder continues to act as a key spokesperson.
In 2004, Wales co-founded Wikia.com, a completely separate company that enables groups of people to share information and opinions that fall outside the scope of an encyclopedia. Wikia's community-created wikis range from video games and movies to finance and environmental issues. Wikia's network is now ranked in the top 75 of all websites according to Quantcast.com, and strong growth continues.
Wales has received a Pioneer Award, the Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize in 2011, the Monaco Media Prize, the 2009 Nokia Foundation annual award, the Business Process Award at the 7th Annual Innovation Awards and Summit by The Economist, The 2008 Global Brand Icon of the Year Award,and on behalf of the Wikimedia project the Quadriga award of Werkstatt Deutschland for A Mission of Enlightenment. In 2007, The World Economic Forum recognized Wales as one of the 'Young Global Leaders.' This prestigious award acknowledges the top 250 young leaders for their professional accomplishments, their commitment to society and their potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world. In addition, Wales received the 'Time 100 Award' in 2006, as he was named one of the world's most influential people in the 'Scientists & Thinkers' category.