Anti-webloggers

I’m continually amazed by the way in which some people harbour such a vitroil against weblogs; there aren’t many of them, but they seem to perceive weblogs as a personal affront towards their honour. Take Bill Thompson from the BBC, for example. He’s managed to stir up quite a bit of trouble by claiming that weblogs are full of uninteresting rubbish.

Now, I find the majority of weblogs on the Internet to be dull and uninteresting as well, but that doesn’t bother me – I just don’t read them. Neither do I claim that many people will find my weblog interesting. Yet as long as there’s just one person reading a weblog, that makes it worth writing, even if the weblog is just about your cat’s mystery illness or whatever.

Why is it so difficult for people to accept this? I feel that the problem stems from the perception that anything that appears on your computer screen is an invasion of your personal space. Brad DeLong has an interesting take on this, with respect to email:

“Normally, whenever we enter anyone else’s personal space–their home, their office, or their table at a restaurant–we are somewhat deferential. But our email messages are written in our personal space–where we expect to see deference, and are feeling most comfortable, confident, and dominant.”

In the same way, when some people navigate to a weblog, they might feel outraged that they are supposed to read some uninteresting post about a cat – ‘How dare you serve up this piece of writing for my consumption? It’s not fit for anyone!’ they might think. But, of course, the post wasn’t written for them.

And of course, to these people, it’s even worse that these weblogs are potentially accessible by hundreds of millions of people all over the world. Not only might these innocent people be exposed to the same rubbish, but they might actually prefer it to your own (clearly superior) writing…

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