Monday, January 29, 2007

The blogosphere

Why the blogosphere? Here is an interesting post that examines who reads blogs and why. These questions are of great concern to those in the media (who fear losing their control over the flow of information in society) and also to those in academia (who fear losing their control over education).

The emphasis should not be on control so much as on the free flow and expression of ideas. Society has gone down this road before. The advent of the printing press allowed people to be readers and consumers of information. The beautiful thing about the Internet is that it allows people to be their own publisher and it requires that people be their own editor of the information they can access. The burgeoning blogoshpere reflects the fact that a lot of people have ideas they want others to share. It is also proof that the individual must edit for themselves what they chose to read and adopt as their own opinion and what they read but by-pass, and what to ignore all together. Again, those with a stasist mind set will always advocate for some sort of controls "in the best interest" of others, the masses obviously being too stupid to to trusted to edit for themselves. Conversely, the blogosphere, unregulated, free and uncensored, is living testament that the masses can and do filter information for themselves, determine who and what to trust and what ideas they can use to improve their lives.

For intellectuals who aspire to exert power over society, the blogosphere is a threat to their traditional control over the media and education. The blogosphere offers both an unprecedented opportunity for individuals to share their opinions and a free market for the immediate expression of competing ideas. By anyone. No credentials, no little societies nor clubs with committees to vet members and restrict access to the "right" people.

The blogoshpere is indeed most threatening to intellectuals as its only real metric for sustainability is the credibility of the ideas, the very intellectualism that it expresses. How very refreshing.