After some time of sneering at the blogger nation, it seems like I’ve thrown in the towel.
I’ve blogged a blog.
My opinion before
I’ve been thinking recently about how the blogosphere seems to be a bunch of useless navel-gazers. There’s a lot of talk about how important blogging is, how it’s the next revolution in media and that it’s the movement that’s going to change the way the public interacts with the internet annd the traditional media (or, alternatively, that it already has done these things). But then I would look at what’s being uoted, and it’s all other bloggers. Seemed a little too self-reflexive, if you know what I mean.
A quick example is Dave Winer. A look at his posts for today shows that all of them thus far have to do with blogging. Yesterday shows 19 posts, of which 11 are blogging related. Now I realize that this is a slanted selection; Dave’s extremely hot on blogging right now and has a lot to say about it. He’s also involved in quite a few blogging-related projects that are high up in his thinking (his podcasts with Adam Curry and BloggerCon II, to name a few), but still, his blog is highly regarded, well-read, and influential.
I’m also aware that this is a miniscule sampling of the blogoshpere, that there are many blogs out there that never mention another blog. I’m also aware that there’s some validity in the idea that blogging is changing/has changed the mainstream media’s hold on the American intellect (the CBS Bush memo debacle being a case in point). None of that changes the fact that I’m tierd of reading people blogging about blogging or about blog entries in someone else’s blog. Enough already! This is just navel-gazing at it’s boring worst.
My Opinion now
Partly after having blogged my first entry about someone else’s blog entry, but mostly after having thought my previous objections through more carefully while writing this entry, I’ve come to believe a little differently. I still believe Dave Winer might be taking the blog-centric stuff a litle too far, but that’s his right – I can remove his feed if I get really irritated, and since I typically view his stuff in a full-text feed on feedster I get to peruse it really quickly and only waste my time on stuff that seems worth wasting my time on. And the community (if there is such a thing) needs to have such proponents/advocates the way American politics needs Ralph Nader (OK, the positive parts of Nader, not the ruinous ones) – someone on the edges, pushing the thinking about the technology and its effects to the forefront: an extremist, so to speak. Do we need conferences about blogging? I don’t think so, but obviously many do.
The more important conclusion that I came to is that this is simply the natural evolution of the merging of blogging more and more into the public conscience. It’s the blogging version of hyperlinking to other web-sites. It’s the same concept that forms a net of inter-connectedness across the world-wide web, which is what makes the www so powerful and important. Maybe this is obvious in retrospect, but there you have it; I’m dense.
So yesterday I blogged a post from Cory Doctorow. His post ended up changing a policy on a web-site that I’d never even heard of. I doubt very much that my post had anything substantial to do with it, nor, most likely, did my comment to them about their policy. But the aggregate of Cory’s post changed the policy, and that’s what mattered.
I’ve seen the enemy, and he is me.