Saturday, June 2, 2007

Blogs won't change the world

The integration of the Internet into society at large necessarily meant individuals reverted to being marginalised in terms of overall influence.

The use of censorware by repressive governments is now becoming a legitimate policy matter. Conferences are being held, proposals are being made, press articles are being written. And people want to know: how can we make a difference in the fight against world censorship?

Unfortunately, I don't have a good answer. Non-governmental organisations, thinktanks, academic departments and so on all have their own hierarchies and barriers to entry.

Many years ago, when the Internet was much smaller, the corresponding reach of an individual aiming to be heard in it was much larger. But the integration of the Internet into society at large necessarily meant individuals reverted to being as marginalised in terms of overall influence as they are in society at large. It's not that nobody at all had a voice, but that the standard institutional power structures asserted themselves.

And blogs are no solution. Contrary to blog evangelism, blogging can sometimes even be detrimental in terms of building influence. That's counterintuitive, since the very rare person who achieves substantial influence via a blog is often widely touted as a success story.

But the complementary outcome is not widely publicised — that is, all the people who are blogging their hearts out and never being heard beyond a tiny fan audience. At this point, a blog evangelist usually states that it's possible to be happy even with only a select group of devotees. But they typically don't want to grant that it's also quite reasonable to be unhappy at not getting beyond that level. Talking mainly among a small self-selected group can also lead to a very misleading impression of the reach of one's ideas.

As one activist lamented ( regarding a censorware controversy: "I think the real lesson here is that, despite all the hype, blogs have not solved the `gatekeeper' problem. It's no longer true that a handful of media giants control what people get to find out about, but it's still true that an issue doesn't become an `issue', and has a hard time entering the public consciousness, unless it gets noticed by one of the new `gatekeepers of information'.

tail piece : Change is the only thing which never changes, Change will have a change resistance still change is a collection of people and people create blogs for expressing ideas, if these ideas reach more people and accepted , blogs can change the world.

© yankandpaste® from : The Hindu (

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