Comments: BloggerCon, or BlatherOn?

I agree with a lot of this. I don't think blogging is going to revolutionize politics or solve social problems.

I do thin, however, that blogging, or a variation of it, really will fulfil the internet's promise of turning journalism on its head. And, if every there was something which needed turning it's journalism.

We are beginning to see the signs already. First, there are now independent ways of checking big media and haveing people pay attention. Second, commentary is no longer the sole preserve of media owners and their friends. Third, while there are thousands of blogs which really are about "what I fed my cat this morning", there are hundreds which are, like this one, focused on issues the blogger actually knows something about. And, like this one, they are independent voices which are cited and used by people who would not normally have any access to the sorts of specialist information available.

This is a revolution from the ground up. And it is very early days. I don't think blogging is a bubble - there is, after all - no money in it. But, over time a lot of new voices will be heard above the chatter. This can't help but be a good thing.

Posted by Jay Currie at October 5, 2003 02:19 AM

No. Almost nobody reads my blog. It has a readership comparable to one (1) Slashdot comment.

That is the flaw. Many writers != many readers.

The whole series I've done on the N2H2 PR in the past days in a case in point. In terms of audience readership, it was a joke.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at October 5, 2003 02:43 AM

Actually Seth, it is just the sort of material which of great interest to a very small group of people.

"When I first circumvented the encryption of N2H2's blacklist, I was amazed at how much of it was junk and duplications and obvious errors. Just full of garbage. Logically, what do they care? Who is looking?! They have an incentive to add as much as possible, for PR puffery (a blacklist zillions long). It was very evident that there were silly keywords being used to blacklist sites."

This message underscores everything I have been saying at my library filter blog - which I damn well have to update about now - about the need for transparency in any proposed library filter. And, if you look at the ALA press release after its meeting on a response to the CIPA decision you see the idea of transparency being adopted.

Indirectly, you are forcing the filter companies to either come clean or write off the library market. No small thing.

Posted by Jay Currie at October 8, 2003 05:14 PM

The idea of "transparency" is a very old one. I can recall discussions of it from 1997. It's one of the very first things which will be said in response to secret blacklists - "Oh, secret blacklists? Let's have Open Censorware!". Then one has to explain the problems with that idea, the blacklist is too big for anyone to examine, companies with secret blacklists have SUED over exposure, etc.

Doing another round of calls for "transparency" in 2003 helps nobody. I mean, it's not a wrong thing, but I don't see evidence it's a very useful thing.

I cannot counter, e.g. N2H2's marketing about why their censorware is so great - for the simple reason that nobody HEARS me in comparison, if nothing else. That's the rebuttal of the blogging-blather.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at October 9, 2003 02:37 PM