Blogging and selfishness

There are many who think the new communication technologies, and blogging in particular, impede public debate and stimulate the consumption of one-dimensional, self-justifying information.  The name usually given to this malady is the “daily me.”

I have already given my thoughts on the subject.  The Internet exists in a state of nature, and blogging reflects this condition.  Pornography and polititical invective abound, but so does discussion of every other subject under the sun.  The daily me is as much a myth as is the idea that we somehow engaged in public debate by watching the network news.

Sophistpundit brings a new angle to the question.  He sees each post as a potential point of reference, however humble, that can enrich someone’s research.  Given aggregators like Google, the matrix of references will grow at the same speed as the Web.  Here’s Sophistpundit’s notion, in his words:

In blogging particularly, and the internet more broadly, I see the opportunity to create an ever growing wealth of points of reference. What Google has done is given us a method of ranking the pages that provide these points. It is what I would consider the closest thing to a real meritocracy that you could ask for when organizing such a vast amount of information. It is as though they have provided scientists with a method of immediately finding the articles within their field which have been cited by the most other articles.

For this reason I see blogging as an opportunity; to take part in a new era of scholarship and learning. For myself, it isn’t about updating the most frequently, or having the most traffic. It’s about making my modest contributions to a much larger storehouse of information, and learning a great deal along the way.

Blogging:  ranting selfishness or scholarly contribution?  Go read the post, and decide.

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