Will Weblogging Change Human Nature?
by John Adams
Related link: http://maxspeak.org/mt/archives/001293.html
Update:Eric Borchert at Salon has a nice story and summary: "Citizen journalists"? Try partisan hacks (subscription required, or watch a short video for a day pass). Here's a sample:
Nonetheless, dealt a weak hand in the Schiavo case, bloggers all went in on a bluff. And now they refuse to pay up. In fact, they're actually congratulating themselves for helping "get to the bottom" of the story. But the meltdown has exposed their often mindless naiveté.
Elsewhere in O'Reilly Weblogs, François Joseph de Kermadec says "Another article on how blogging will change society as we know it just was too much for poor little FJ to bear." Me, too, as my comments on that item show.
For example, over at the excellent Max Speak, You Listen!, Max Sawicky points to a well-known weblog which specializes in media criticism. Turns out that the weblog might itself need some media criticism brought to bear on itself.
Listen up, people:
Partisan hacks with weblogs are still partisan hacks. A statesman with a weblog is still a statesman. Ethical journalists with weblogs are still ethical journalists. Gossipmongers with weblogs are still, well, Matt Drudge.
Most importantly, a liar with a weblog is another damned liar. The mystique and hype around weblogging just makes that liar more credible, the partisan hack more effective, the gossipmonger more venomous. Is that a net gain?
Until it's seen as just another tool for communication, weblogging will be used as (among other things) cover for every slimy aspect of human nature. Weblogging will still be used as a way of disguising vice as virtue after weblogging is seen in more perspective, but it'll be less effective in doing so. A more realistic view of weblogging will make it a more powerful tool for advancing virtue and shining a light on vice.
P.S. I'm all for technical partisan hacks, and I'm not really against political partisan hacks (the traditional sense of the word). I just understand political partisan hackery to be what it is, not what I might wish it were.
Do I condemn myself? Very well, then, I condemn myself. I am vast--I contradict multitudes. (Okay, maybe I'm half-vast, and only contradict a bunch of folks.)
Who are these ethical journalist you speak of? Ethical journalists? That must qualify as what they call a "staticstically improbable phrase" over at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/search-inside/sipshelp.html).
Generalizing from a sample of one
Remind me not to hire you for any sort of statistical analysis.
Therefore, Ray Charles is god?
Reminder to adamsj: don't hire me for any sort of statistical analysis.