] Creating a communications infrastructure that fosters a
] healthy democracy has been a concern of the United States
] since its founding. Newspaperman and intellectual Walter
] Lippmann once noted that the real trouble with both the press
] and representative democracy is "the failure of self-governing
] people to transcend their casual experience and their
] prejudice by inventing, creating, and organizing a machinery
] of knowledge." In MemeStreams, that machinery may finally have
I think this article makes a critical logical fallacy that has been bothering me about this whole blogosphere business.
He worries about... "spin doctors" (people who deliberately post misleading items). But he explains how the communal character of blog culture mitigates many potential excesses: bloggers who are uninteresting don't get linked to;
First, if I could please be pointed to the blogger who isn't a spin doctor, I would very much like to read his or her blog. Furthermore, it seems that interesting and knowledge might be mutually exclusive for most people. The fact that uninteresting bloggers don't get linked contributes to the excesses of the spin doctors rather then mitigating it. Dan Gillmore has rose colored glasses on. I think the interesting blogs are the radical ones with the most emotionally devisive content. Or the funny ones. The ones that make you feel, and not the ones that make you think. In particular, blogs that criticise popular delusions are likely to be unpopular particularly with the people who most need a cluestick.
The stuff at the top of the powerlaw is going to be crap. Its going to be pop. Its going to be brittney spears. Instapundit and Kos are not what you're looking for. These are merely the greatest common denominators.
Neither, I think, may be using reputuation systems to plumb the depths of the long tail. This is an escapist strategy.
The heart of building a "machinery of knowledge" is having a culture which is actually interested in doing so. This requires, at its heart, people who beleive in critical thinking, particularly when it comes to their favorite conclusions and their political allies. Today our culture is just the opposite. Coddled on broadcast media we expect that we should never have to think critically. The only time we bother is when we are talking about our political enemies.
This is a people problem and not a technology problem. It is only a technology problem in so far as the media is the message and we can build a media that engenders the kind of thought process that we desire. I'm not sure what follows from that observation, but we ought to be thinking about it.
RE: Group Rethink