January 13, 2003

Reply to "Blog Politics of Form"

Donna Wentworth at Copyfight talks about the "politics of form". While I think that's a interesting topic, I also think it won't get discussed meaningfully. Because the meaningful material is likely to be more specialized and unsexy than befits Grand Ideas. No offense, but as I read over everything, I thought again:

AARRGGHH! More blather!

Some days, I think I would be vastly more popular if I took journo-blathering seriously. Let's see ... "Yes, the weblog is yet another pinnacle in the postmodern [neat word!] cyber-democratization [neat prefix!] of the infosphere [neat phrase!]. It is not the ``I Media'' of the top-down organizational form of the old regime, but as others have noted, the ``We Media'' [neat term!] of a spontaneously self-organized complex system [a sprinkling of pseudoscience jargon is always good!]. We must ask "What Does It All Mean"? [big broad question are excellent filler!] And answer that the meaning is a unique new frontier in human expression [nothing is ever an old retread!] ..."

Sorry, but I get curmudgeonly over this stuff. I lived through the growth of mailing-lists, Usenet, the early Internet, and so on. I remember when there really was an aspect of egalitarianism and democratization with networked communications. But it was a fragile state, stemming from the fact that the community was small and insular then, and it didn't last.

I think the key insight is the following:


More opportunities for punditry doesn't necessarily mean society becomes more egalitarian - this is the fundamental error of 95% of the noise on the topic. It connects to the idea of commentators being the watchdog of a well-functioning world. So then more comments equals a better world. But rather, it just means more people have a chance at becoming professional chatterers, and/or the existing chatterers have yet another outlet. Indeed, that's a change, certainly a change worth studying - but not a unique, unprecedented change. And the implications are likely to be much less than the hype over them.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in cyberblather , infothought | on January 13, 2003 01:30 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups

Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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