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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Imbeciles and fools unite

I hope someone can appreciate the irony that I am linking to this Wall Street Journal editorial with this post. Read on if you are curious.

WSJ Assistant Editorial Features Editor Joseph Rago has strong criticisms for bloggers. We're bottom feeders, for one: (I suppose that's a harsher way of describing the Long Tail.)

The blogs are not as significant as their self-endeared curators would like to think. Journalism requires journalists, who are at least fitfully confronting the digital age. The bloggers, for their part, produce minimal reportage. Instead, they ride along with the MSM like remora fish on the bellies of sharks, picking at the scraps ... The larger problem with blogs, it seems to me, is quality. Most of them are pretty awful. Many, even some with large followings, are downright appalling.
Honestly, I think he's probably right. Meaningful content is a challenge for those of us who blog for enjoyment rather than for a living. So many blogs are created and then abandoned, and most of us (including me most of the time) are responding to news generated by the mainstream media, not sharing new information.

Rago playfully refers to bloggers as fools by quoting author Joseph Conrad. Blogs are, in his opinion and Conrad's words, "Written by fools to be read by imbeciles." I wonder if this is the whole truth, though. Will it always be this way? If blogging is peaking, as has been recently reported, will the cream rise to the surface of the crop? As Technorati has pointed out, "sheer dedication pays off over time" when it comes to blogging, and that may mean that blogging will improve as serious writers stick around and continue to get better at it. Let's hope so.

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