Friday, April 6, 2007

Has blogging caused the rate of dumbening to increase?

There was a piece on PBS a few nights ago where bloggers, journalists, and the dean of journalism at Columbia were interviewed to discuss "citizen journalism" or "acts of journalism". As one might expect, the piece explored both the positive and negative aspects of blogging: some say that bloggers are, on the whole, too uninformed and are diluting the relevance of online information, while others countered that the technology empowers people by facilitating the ease of dissemination of information and perspectives.

Coincidentally enough, Andrew Keen, a SV entrepreneur, published a book "The Cult of Amateurs" where he goes on to skewer the majority of people who've exploited mashup publishing technologies making it easier for individuals to spout all kinds of uninformed nonsense. I'm assuming that he means folks who are making use of blogger, typepad, myspace or whatever to publish pieces on politics, sexism, racism, facism, what myspace friends are doing, porn, movies, games, porn, sports, friendster, stocks, blog tricks, news, various social commentaries, porn, etc.

From what I've seen so far, I'd say his tone smacks a bit of elitism and there are chewy undercurrents of hypocrisy, as Keen himself has a blog, and a book, which are used as delivery vectors of his perspective on the phenomenon, but apparently it's okay for him to make use of the technology or for him to speak about his ideas: he's mature and erudite enough.

The rest of us? Slack-jawed yokels we are.

Needless to say, I don't think he's giving people enough credit. Or maybe he's not considering that it doesn't really matter that there's a lot of chaff out there...people who want to use the internet will have to become savvy enough to locate what they're looking for, and in the end I think they'll be the ones to dictate what content is deemed worthy for consumption and therefore what will become usable and meaningful information.

He apparently also discusses issues of identify theft, online pornography, and online gambling and how these are eroding the core tenets of American culture, but of course, it would seem that the amateurs are at fault here. His bottom line is: less banal banter is more meaningful. We'll get there, as we're early in the game for Web 2.0. We're definitely going to go through some iterations first.

Or maybe, I'm just one of those people who's spouting off a useless uninformed commentary, or maybe I just need a book deal in order to validate my ramblings.

I think I'll check out his book, but I'll be borrowing from the library on this one.

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