I encountered an interesting application that crosses Google Maps with Wikipedia, and shows you, almost in real time, the geographic origins of the edits being performed in Wikipedia. This can become almost addicting, especially if one starts to look for patterns. I looked for only 10 minutes, possibly less, and noticed that the greatest number of edits were coming from the US and the UK, where in the case of the former several edits were made to entries dealing with past empires, or emperors, while in the latter case edits to entries on popular entertainment seemed more numerous. I suspect that this facility will reintroduce some margin of recognition for the local and place-bound specificities of “culture” even under conditions of supposed “globalization.”
It is quite engaging to see the Internet being added to, worked on, world over, and live, people like a silent army of ants, yet unlike ants pursuing individual goals, and yet like ants pursuing goals using common methods.