A couple of posts have popped up in the last couple weeks relating to the topic of blogging itself, and they've given me some food for thought. This post
focused on the self indulgent, "puerile" nature of the content on the blogosphere; well, what did they expect? Do they really think all blogs should be models of erudition? Or were they just feeling smug and superior? "It just had to be said," apparently.
Maybe it did need to be said; reading it made me think about the quality of product that I'm putting out for people to read, and about putting some extra effort into my posts (I tried to leave a comment to that effect, but where disappearedred to after I clicked 'submit' is a mystery).
But seriously, what do they expect?
You have the internet, this revolutionary communication tool that allows just about anyone with access to a computer to set up their virtual soapbox and start speaking, regardless of their ability to write or express themselves well, or even coherently. The variety is amazing, even if the quality isn't. Can this kind of communication or publication get any more egalitarian? We can only hope.
I could understand maybe in the early days of the internet when only the tech savvy and computer literate could create a website, that one would be surprised to find web sites or logs that didn't reflect at least some creativity or skill in writing; however, with every passing day, publishing to the web gets easier and easier. Anybody can (and likely will) have a blog.
Groups like the various political blogging affiliations help encourage participation, dialogue, and awareness. Initially they too were likely only populated by the political vanguard on the web, to soon be followed by neophyte bloggers, like myself.
What I can't understand is why anybody could think this is a bad thing; don't we want to encourage participation? You say there are some blogs out there that lack detailed and insightful content? So what? I would say the same thing in that case as I would say to someone who has found content which they find offensive: If you don't like it, don't read it (of course, illegal content is another matter and should be reported to local authorities)
. Is the issue that they are taking up space on your favorite blog-roll? If you and enough people feel similarly, then the complaints to the person who manages it should rectify the problem; however, it's just as likely that another reader out there appreciates that blog entry.
If you sift through the blogosphere you will find interesting, entertaining material, and just as often you will find partisan hacks, poor spellers and crackpots. The democratic aspect of the web is that sites that are well done may eventually attract a wider audience; those that aren't likely won't. Bloggers that are determined to persevere and maybe even get better will, and their blogs may be worth reading, or not (for that matter, not all bloggers want their posts reaching a large audience)
Along similar lines was this post
from Andrew Coyne, discussing an article in the Financial Times
which heralded "the obsolescence of blogging;" I couldn't disagree more. The comments for Coyne's post said it pretty well, and I couldn't add more to that, except that no other medium in history has ever offered so many people the means to share their views with such a wide audience, and with such amazing speed. And yes, some of it is going to be crap; in a mass medium, you should expect no less.