Sunday, March 25, 2007

Blog-O-Sphere is Important

Dean Barnett has some observations on why the Blog-O-Sphere (my spelling) is important; Why politicians are paying attention; what we can do to improve the message.

he blogosphere is important. It’s more important on the left than it is on the right, for sure, but politicians of all stripes have reached a consensus that the goodwill of the blogopshere is something to be courted.

This isn’t because of bloggers. Rather, it’s because of our readers. Blog readers, both left and right, are exceptionally high–end consumers of news. Among blog readers, there is a disproportionate amount of what Malcolm Gladwell calls “mavens” in his book “Tipping Point.” To generalize, blog readers are well informed big-mouths. They wield influence beyond their numbers.

So what happens in the comments section of blogs, including this one, has to be on some levels meaningful. The commenters represent the community, and it’s the community that politicians want to reach.

He then talks about those who comment. He dislikes the crude, rude and just plain nasty comments. Who does? I doubt even those who write such comments would like reading them. Americans have a limited vocabulary for insult, obscenity, and other forms of verbal abuse. We are sadly diminished in our insult capacity. Our language for obscenity does not improve much from the age of 6 (when we discover naughty words) until we reach our dotage. The English, French, Australians, Germans, Dutch, cultures from Asia and the Middle East, all are more inventive and outrageous. Why post insults that are not imaginative? At least make the comments sections readable for the casual reader.

Hate mail is in that same category. Why pay attention to people who cannot marshal an argument, cannot present their position, cannot defend it, and then abuse the reader? Life is too short for boring circles. Hate mail does nothing for the reader. The sender feels good. Why read it. The one caution about hate mail is to never reply.

There are 70 million+ blogs according to one count, (other counts say 50+ million) . The goal of any blog, as with any writer, or speaker should be to inform and entertain. Talking to oneself does nothing to advance an idea or reward the audience for the time spent. Yes, anyone can climb upon their soapbox and begin shouting. However, to cut through the clutter the audience must get something for their effort. They must receive something for their time and attention.

All conversations are a marketplace.

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