Thursday, January 12, 2006
Blogging Beyond the Immediacy of Today
A problem with the specificity of immediate events is that it can lead to working hard to put out the fire in front of you without perceiving larger forces at play. Of course, this is not some exclusionary process; people can and do see and act on various levels.
Compared to the vast majority of blogs, there is something qualitively different about non-fiction books and even magazine articles. While research on the web is an amazing process and yields connections undreamed of prior to it, it remains difficult for many people to assess the accuracy and overall context of the information. Oh, there are plenty of exceptions but I daresay most political blogs are mostly opinion rather than factual. But this is a good thing.
Understanding public opinion and views is an integral part of an informed democratic process. But, in general, blogs function as gigantic Op-Ed and Letters pages in local newspapers. I find it less than coincidental that, as more local papers are being bought up by larger groups of papers which imprint them with a corporate perspective, people are turning to blogs to find out what other people are thinking. Yet, despite the big news stories some blogs have managed to expose and research, I remain somewhat leery of their ability to provide consistent and accurate reportage.
Some blogs provide incredibly good information on a particular subject but this is almost always a function of the fact that the author(s) are specialists in the subject. That is one advantage of blogs. Experts are able to put out information and make it accessible to a general public. The problem is, again, assessing the qualifications of self-proclaimed experts. Padding resumes and experience is common among people who want to be considered experts but lack professional or academic standing. (Not that such standing is required for excellence in thought or research but it is a signpost to note.)
So, to return to my original point, I'm reading more books and fewer blogs. This may be a function of winter in the woods of New England. I tend to be more introspective during this period. I'll probably become more blog-active in the spring but who knows? Maybe sooner.