Thursday, February 16, 2006

Blogorati

Chris Pirillo has been on a tear lately. He laments memes in the blogosphere and the rise of the echo chamber.* He also seems a bit fed up with the rampant "metooism" so common on the blogs:
But being "first" is no longer important, as evidenced by all these damned memetrackers that I'm getting sick of hearing about. I don't visit Memeorandum on pure principle - I'm f*cking sick of the echo chamber. We all want to be on top, we all want to win - and sometimes in our quest to find the one ring to rule them all, we forget about giving credit where credit might be due (even if that comes in the form of a simple hyperlink or name-drop).

[...]

There's definitely a need for weighing in on a topic, but don't do it for the sake of weighing in.
Why not? What's wrong with the echo chamber? Going further, what's wrong with the me too's? The me too's out there give the author that his or her idea has traction, that it makes sense. Me too's are an important yin to the contrary yang. Sure, a positive (or negative) reinforcement loop can spin out of control, but I think that the echo chamber is large enough that this isn't a chronic problem.

Unless by metooism, he's referring to a blogger's propensity to regurgitate opinions as fact. That, in my opinion, is the biggest problem facing conversations in the blogosphere. Hearsay in printed form is still hearsay. A little fact checking (read: RTFA) might show that the "next big thing" is little more than someone's opinion (or worse, some company's ad copy).
It's the want and need that all of us have to make ourselves look more important than we might actually be. We're trying to show others that we can get the scoop - that we were the first to do something.
I think that Chris is onto something here. The need to compete to get the scoop leads to extreme forms of link baiting, sensationalism, and maybe a little lack of attribution. On that last bit, I think that "giving credit where credit might be due" is important. More important, however, is providing context by citing one's sources. So much of what we find on the 'net is suspect, so some fuller disclosure gives the article credibility. It's also good karma.

I'm not surprised that the blogosphere is pulling the same tricks as mainstream media. Access has given more people a voice. The problem is that we're all trying to shout at once.

* - That's a pretentious sentence, I know, but necessary for my argument. Make sure to check out the definition for blogosphere. Besides, this site is called Neologies, so cut me some slack.

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