February 24, 2004

Blogging slowdown again

I need to slow down on blogging again. It takes an incredible amount of effort to work one's way up the power-law curve. Blogs are for talkers. I appreciated the recent mention from Lessig. But despite all the blog-punditry I've done recently, despite that mention, I'm still way down at the level of 100 readers or so. Maybe it's 150 now. It's a long way from the A-list (or Slashdot).

Once more, I'm not abandoning this completely. Especially for posting relevant notices and such. But the punditry is very draining and distracting.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in website | on February 24, 2004 11:59 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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"Once more, I'm not abandoning this completely."


Posted by: Weltentummler at February 25, 2004 04:20 AM


Your various analyses may slip past the understandings of most idealists, unheaded. That's why you're not getting much response from the masses. I'm likening more and more of what I read online to straight-up "cognitive dissonance"; people just don't see what's right in front of them. (But then, I'm convinced that people aren't leaving comments in my blog because they're too dumb, too.)

Thanks for the perspectives. You're a gust of clear thinking in these hazy times.

And by the way, I had to change my own blog because it was looking too much like the default MT style you used. Play with your style sheets -- it's easy and fun! (hint: the look is getting old, man!)

Posted by: Simon at February 25, 2004 10:35 AM

I'm surprised that you've only got 100 or 150 readers. Your stuff is really good. Even though you have a similar philosophical approach and goals to many other bloggers, you're much more honest and unafraid to go against the conventional wisdom. Look at your previous entry on the Eldred "pony hunt". You're an Eldred supporter like everyone else, but you're not afraid to speak up and say that people are overreaching and trying to pull something out that isn't there. Nobody else says that, but surely some people are thinking it.

When I was in college we read the book which I think coined the term groupthink. It was about the decision-making process that led to the Vietnam war. I remember now, it was The Best and the Brightest. Here were all these brilliant men, and they made enormous mistakes. What went wrong? The post mortem revealed that everyone had private doubts, but no one expressed them because the rest of the group was so positive, and they figured that all those other smart people couldn't be wrong! It was an amazing institutional failure.

So often in the blogging world I see the same thing, really smart people saying what seem to be really dumb things. There is very little "friendly criticism" among blogs with similar philosophies. Nobody wants to speak up and go against the crowd. The result is a groupthink mentality that is brittle and error-prone.

Your blog is one of the exceptions. You don't seem to be afraid to either make a fool out of yourself by making a mistake which everyone else can see, or of alienating your comrades by criticizing a view that they are all supporting. Now, I've read a lot about you online over the years, positive and negative, and it's possible that this is due in part to a degree of autism that makes you oblivious to some of the social forces which constrain most people. I'm the same way, to some extent. But whatever the reason, you're providing a valuable service. And the fact that you have impeccable credentials as a fighter for freedom means that people will take you seriously even when your analysis is the opposite of everyone else's.

I hope you will continue with this effort, whatever amount of time you are able to put into it. I'm sure your 100 readers include some important people who will benefit from reading words of truth that no one else can or will provide.

Posted by: Cypherpunk at February 25, 2004 07:43 PM

Two thoughts:
1.) We absolutely need more "friendly criticism." 2.) Influence can't always be measured via hit-counts.

Posted by: Donna Wentworth at February 29, 2004 04:46 PM