Monday, May 21, 2007

The Nature of the Blogs

Matt has a good point here. If you are going to get much out of reading blogs, you need to be discriminating. You need to have a means of filtering out the crap. And indeed there is a lot of crap. Not just crap published by one's political opponents, which will often be stuff you have little regard for, but a lot of crap from people who are supposedly your allies. As Matt points out 95% of everything is crap. If you just read a dozen blogs randomly you might conclude that blogs are worthless. But if you just read a dozen books randomly (and I mean a truly random dozen of all the books every publishes. Not published and preserved, and not just great books, I mean any and all books.) you'd get much the same impression of the printing press. But if you have some standards for what constitutes good, intelligent, thoughtful writing, you can easily find a substantial collection of excellent stuff. Each person's standard for what constitute crap, of course, varies, but I will submit that for good writing look for the following:
  • The writer supports claims with evidence
  • The more serious the claim, the more solid, and the greater amount of evidence is supplied
  • While confident, some measure of uncertainty should be present (we are none of us God)
  • The writer shows some signs of self criticism
On a related subject, the Republicans are apparently quite far behind the Democrats in the area of on-line activation and are trying to catch up. I have to agree with Blue Girl, Red State that the conservative movement will have a tough time fitting into the on-line environment. The top down approach that the right has long favored, as BGRS points out, is not suited to the net. With everyone free to express their own opinion, it is just about impossible to keep everyone on message. I think that is the least of their problems, however. The on-line environment makes checking you claims very easy. The right has long worked on the basis of Rush Limbaugh (or whoever) saying anything, really anything, repeatedly and being free from any checking. The claims can be entirely false and easily shown to be so, but no outlet is present for getting that information out to the listeners. That is not true on the web. If you post some claim on your blog that is false, any number of people can see it, comment on it with references and demonstrations of the inaccuracy of the claim. Anyone who is not already devoted to you can easily find these rebuttals via any number of web tools and most will go away unconvinced. The current conservative movement is in no position to handle that kind of easy critical review. That, I think will be the huge stumbling block to the Republicans making serious inroads on-line for some time to come.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home