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Friday, 27 April 2007

They're taking over!

I've just read an article in the culture section of the Times by Bryan Appleyard, saying that Blogs are "destroying our civilisation". Riiiiiiiighhht... Apparently the reason being that blogs are poisoning creative criticism because they give anybody a voice.

Kamm, of the Times, wrote "Blogs typically do not add to the available stock of commentary, they are purely parasitic on the stories and opinions that traditional media provide". Which really translates as "People with blogs are not educated enough to have a valued opinion on anything". Well, Mr. Kamm, I think you'll find there are educated people out there, and surely it's pretty easy to see how much 'value' you should attach to someone's opinion just by reading a little more of their blog. Mr. Kamm's problem, I fear is that up until blogs became really popular, opinion in the media was dictated by "the high-brows". Suddenly, everyone has an opinion about everything. Personally, I think this is fantastic. Suddenly, it's easy for me to see what the average Joe thinks about pretty much anything. I can do a blog search on Google or Technorati, and up pop 100 blogs, with opinions from a diverse range of backgrounds, race, gender, age etc. Let's say I want to watch a film. I've read a review in the paper that says it's a bit crap, but still, the storyline really appeals to me. So I look online for people that have already been to see it. Take a quick look through the blogs, and find that whilst women in general hated the movie, all the men that had been to see it loved it. I look at the newspaper review, and see it's done by a woman. I go and see the movie and love it. What I'm trying to say is that you have to remember that blog opinion is just that, opinion. Everybody is entitled to an opinion, the only difference is how you choose to convey it. Yes, there are a lot of blogs that talk shit around, but it's not really that difficult to tell which they are.

The other thing that the article seems to fail to take into account is the fact that while everyone can have an opinion, nobody is forced to read it. If anybody is reading my blog right now, it's because they chose to do that in the first place, not because someone was sticking bamboo under their fingernails (At least I hope not). I began to ask myself why it is I have a blog in the first place, and came to the conclusion that it's not because I want everyone to know who I am, what I think about everything and my every little intimate secret. It's because I want to leave something behind after I leave this place. There's my own little digital fingerprint left on the web after I go, this stream of electrons proves that I was here, that I was alive. It's my own little social commentary of what happened on this day in my life. It stops me having to send out those photocopied letters that your great Auntie Hazel does every Christmas detailing everything that's happened that year, and that are so bloody impersonal you just want to slap the person sending it ("James fell down and broke his leg in January, and had to be taken to hospital" - Yeah I know, Hazel, why the hell are you telling me this in December??). I read my friends blogs because I like to know what they've been up to - they don't have to email me or phone me to tell me every little thing, because it's all right there for me to read. It lets me know they're still about. I read Marisa's Blog because it reminds me of her and her little thought processes when I miss her, it feels like She's just telling me about her day.

In political terms, again, I think this is fantastic. For the first time, politicians can see what the people really think. Not just the people at the top of the food chain, but the people at the bottom as well. They don't have to rely on polls that give little to no indication as to why people think a certain way. By rights, politicians should be better informed about the inner workings of the common man than ever before. And if they don't choose to use this information to make the country a better place to live, then it'll just confirm what we all already knew: They don't actually care. If civilization does crumble around our very ears because of this, then maybe we deserved it.

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