As usual, Karl is dishing out more than word soup. He hits on the reality of blogging in a post that's partly a response to Dave Winer and Kasia (as cited in The Register) and that contains such gems as:

Bloggers are people who like to hear themselves talk (I'm included), filled with an inaccurate sense of importance (probably included here too), contributing to little more than white noise in a sea of screaming brains, wired together with fiber and glue. (My grammar teacher would beat me senseless for that run on sentence, but as a self-important blogger its my prerogative)
That's blogging.
In and of itself, that's fine with me. Scream, punch, kick, do whatever you want while you're alive. But let's not pretend we're curing cancer by contributing more static to the noise pool.
It's not that individuals, or a group of outraged individuals can't make a difference, either. It just seems to me that most of the blogging community chooses to channel their collective brainpower and voice into unimportant crap.

And, later on...

I'm FAR MORE impressed every time some poor rural girls lemonade stand gets shut down by an over-zealous town mayor; the web then writing en masse and making the city/town back down. I've seen at least three of these stories this year. Humans helping humans.

Of course, we've all seen stuff like that in blogs, but Karl's point is that it tends to be the exception rather than the rule.

Your Blog versus Verizon's lobbyists. Good fucking luck.


It's good to see that Andrew Orlowski of The Register has his head on semi-straight. I love the first paragraph of that story:

Working in his secret laboratory at Harvard University, a Fellow of the prestigious institution has come up with a formula that rocks electoral maths to its core.

Don't get me wrong, blogging is important. But it's not that important and not in the ways that some would like you to believe.

That reminds me. Now would be a good time to recommend that everyone pick up and read a copy of Asking The Right Questions, which happens to be written by two of BGSU's smartest professors. It's a seriously good book that's used in their critical thinking classes. It's been a few years since I read it, so I probably should dust off my copy too. I think a lot of the "debate" (including much of the political discussion) I see in the blogsphere could benefit from it.

Posted by jzawodn at November 14, 2003 04:23 PM

Reader Comments
# Charles said:

Karl always cuts to the core of the argument. I had this same argument on dKos, which appears to be run mostly by Dean bloggers. Some idiot was blathering about how the internet "empowers people." I said that was a stupid idea, VOTING empowers people. I told her that if she really wanted to empower people she should forget blogging and volunteer to drive people to the polls on Election day.

on November 14, 2003 05:13 PM
# Charles said:

oops, I meant to say Andrew always cuts to the core.. etc. The driving people to the polls thing was Andrews essay.

on November 14, 2003 09:38 PM
# billg said:

Repeat after me: It is the words that count, not where you put them.

Blogging is a publishing technlogy. Yes, it is easy and cheap to publish on a weblog. No, saying something worth reading day in and day out is not easy. Getting a readership level of any size is even more difficult.

Blogging is no more empowering than universal free vanity publishing would be, with which it shares many characteristics.

on November 15, 2003 07:25 AM
# Jack said:

Bloggers are people who like to hear themselves talk (I'm included), filled with an inaccurate sense of importance (probably included here too), contributing to little more than white noise in a sea of screaming brains, wired together with fiber and glue.

In related news, the sky is blue.

on November 15, 2003 09:29 AM
# Anthony Rubin said:

The link for Asking the Right Questions is for the 6th edition and I noticed that there is a 7th edition available.

on November 15, 2003 11:14 AM
# Scott said:

If you read all the way to the bottom of Orlowski's piece, you discover that the Dave Winer quote he mocks actually says:

"A voter with a weblog is ten times more powerful than a voter without a weblog, because there's more voting than just going in and flipping a lever."

This is rather different than asserting that a blogger's vote counts for 10 regular votes, or that each blogger's vote is counted 10 times, or whatever.

Winer was making a point about influence. If you publish a weblog, you are almost certain to get some regular readers, otherwise known as friends and family. If you consistently publish your political views, those readers will consistently consider your points. And some may be persuaded. Which is more than you can say for the average voter, who rarely discusses politics in polite company, and forms opinions by reading establishment journalists like... Orlowski.

on November 15, 2003 05:44 PM
# Tim Gilberg said:

Blogger is one of the purest forms of true freedom of speech

on November 16, 2003 08:42 AM
# Tim Gilberg said:

Weekend Bloggers have no life, join the rank of the Fulltime Bloggers no weekend warriors here

on November 16, 2003 11:16 AM
# gabe said:

Blogs allow you to view the world through other persons' perspectives. You can argue with people who see things different than you, or you can find that someone else actually feels the same way that you do about any particular subject. There are differences and similarities, and all of them show you how we're all part of a whole. Got a question about a certain product or place to visit? Go search google and you're bound to find some blogger who's written about their experiences with that subject. From a historical perspective, look at how good blogs are at archiving [at least a part of] our society and civilization.

Regardless of how irrelevant blog content may be in some cases, I still see it as a highly valuable resource.

on November 17, 2003 08:05 AM
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