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Thursday, Apr. 12, 2007 at 1:03 am

Are We Blogging Each Other to Death?

By Jeffrey Eisenberg
April 12th, 2007

John Quarto-vonTivadar sent me a fascinating link to where Jeremy Geelan offers biting criticism of the blogosphere. You can read i-Technology Viewpoint: Are We Blogging Each Other To Death? for yourself.

Do you think he has a point? Do you agree with him, think he’s nuts, or what?

P. S. Jeff Sexton had an interesting point of view on this

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Comments (6)

  1. A very interesting read.

    I thought Geelan’s application of the concept of self-iteration to slam Nick Carr was perhaps a little strong. I think it is also a contradiction to his point when he takes Carr’s comment on the the blogoshpere often being shallow to be a reflection of the depth Carr’s own writing. Carr’s own comment ends with “rarely going deep” not never going deep. Isn’t that the same point Geelan is making in the article when he talks about “insight capture” and the “best of the rest”. Sure he does it in a very “I am educated” way by referencing Cambridge, “socratic court[s]“, the philosophies of Jerry Garcia and the fact the he has read or seen “Waiting for Godot”. But is his point really all that different. Maybe that is why he apologizies for criticizing Carr.

    Perhaps we should practice a little self-iteration on Geelan. Hold him up to the same standard he uses to critique others. What is he saying about himself though this piece? Is he saying that waiting for insight in his work is also like “waiting for Godot”?

    For my part as a blogger I will tell you right now that is I say “most bloggers are crazy” then I am not commenting on myself at all. But if you happen to follow my writing and you catch me saying “most bloggers are insightful geniuses” then of course I am being self-iterative and referring directly to ME. ;)

    In the end, I also disagree with both Geelan and Carr about the depth of the blogoshpere and the frequency of insight. I find many bloggers insightful in different ways. Most times that insight comes from the “context” of topic in relation to the personal experiences of the particular blogger. I will concede to his point that anonymity makes evaluating that more difficult but I can’t think of any “anonymous” blogs that I read on a regular basis.

    As far as the ease of expressing opinions and the socratic court goes, I think the ability for more voices to join the fray allows for the possibility of more insight. The best ideas evolve through discussion and rise to the top.

    -Ian

  2. There are many who are writing out of choice (with a motto) and some are following the successful one (without a motto), so the answer is “no” and “yes” for former and later resp.

  3. Well, criticism is always healthy, and, yes, the blogosphere has its shortcomings. I don’t think it’s necessarily that its a shallow world. There is a lot of very insightful stuff out there (TheGrokDotCom, for example). I would say however that we are in want of a collective voice a la wikipedia in many fields, that blogging does not always lend itself well to dialog (even when one comments and reads comments like just now), and does tend to be ephemeral.

    Oh! And Socrates didn’t go to the Forum; he went to the Agora…

  4. I found this comment from the post particularly interesting…

    “so many bloggers suffer from what Albert Camus called “the sign of a vulgar mind,” namely the need to be right.”

    I would venture a guess that’s a big motivation for many bloggers- the need to be right. (read into this what you will about my own motivation)

    This can be good or bad. If you have some genuine insights, it can be very valuable to your readers. If you just want a platform to gratify your ego – that can be less valuable.

    But that’s the beauty of blogs – read them or don’t read them. The ones that provide real value to the reader get read. The one’s that don’t, don’t.

    I also agree with Ian – “I find many bloggers insightful in different ways. Most times that insight comes from the “context” of topic in relation to the personal experiences of the particular blogger.”

  5. Jeff:

    Thanks for pointing out this fascinating article.

    This may be an overly simplistic view, but here goes:

    Why should anyone worry or care?

    In the mid 1990′s, I was fortunate to be one of the executives launching what was then an innovative Web initiative from Time Warner. At the time, the most consistent question from audiences of all backgrounds was: “There’s no regulation of the Web. How do we know that Web sites will be any good.”

    My answer was the same one that I would apply to the blogosphere today: “We don’t know what kind of quality will emerge and it does not matter. Good sites will become popular while bad sites will fade away because no one will visit them. They will become like trees falling in a forest.”

    It seems to me that the same is true of blogs: They are easy to start, millions of people are satisfying their urge to express themselves and millions more are engaging in discussions of all kinds. The desire to express oneself and to interact are fundamental human imperatives. They are now enabled by the Web in an entirely new way, so lot’s of people are experimenting.

    The Web is the first media that has ever taken viewership away from television. It seems to me that we are a healthier society if rather than passively watching television people are attempting to create content, develop their opinions and actively debate with each other.

    If we keep in mind one fundamental rule, “just because I wrote it doesn’t mean anyone will read it” then lots of these types of questions becomes irrelevant. Good and valuable content will be read and appreciated by many, many people—and blog technology will have enabled these new and valuable voices to be heard. Other kinds of content will disappear or remain a fringe voice.

  6. I agree with Bruce. Since I started actively blogging and watching blogs relatively recently, it seems as if everyone is blogging about blogging. Well, not everyone- but enough people that this kind of debate can pick up steam.

    I don’t see newspapers talking about newspapers. Or TV talking about TV. Or even email newsletter writers talking about email newsletters.

    To me, it’s just a sign of the newness (and immaturity) of the medium. Sooner or later most people will get that it’s just another medium, and, like many other outlets, there will be different strokes for different folks. And the self-referential bloggers will just be blogging about how to effectively communicate, and less about what blogging is, or isn’t.

    It’s when we first jump into the pool that we like to kick and splash about a bit. After enough of it, it’s just time to relax back on the flotation device of your choice, with the beverage of your choice, and get to the good, honest work of just soaking…

    There’s a bit of splashing about going on now, methinks.

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Jeffrey Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark. You can friend him on Facebook.

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