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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Contrarian Carr on Blogging

I've always got a lot of mileage reading contrarians. Which is why I regularly consume the words of both Dvorak and Winer. My current favorite is Nicholas Carr, best known for his "Does IT Matter?" writings.

In a recent entry, Mr. Carr addresses the topic of what's wrong with blogging. Here's an excerpt:
The blogosphere's a seductive place - it's easy to get caught up in it - and there's lots of interesting thoughts and opinions bouncing around amid the general clatter. But does it really provide a good way of becoming informed? Experiencing the blogosphere feels a lot like intellectual hydroplaning - skimming along the surface of many ideas, rarely going deep. It's impressionistic, not contemplative. Fun? Sure. Invigorating? Absolutely. Socratic? I'm not convinced. Preferable to the old world? It's nice to think so.

For all the self-important talk about social networks, couldn't a case be made that the blogosphere, and the internet in general, is basically an anti-social place, a fantasy of community crowded with isolated egos pretending to connect?

Mr Carr takes it a little too far, as is the tendency of many contrarians. But I agree that the pace of blogging does not allow for much depth. And to call it Socratic, like Dan Farber did, is quite humorous. As far as information, I think we would all be better off if we spent more time reading books.

But at the end of the day, many of us have created meaningful friendships and have learned a bit more about the human condition, which may justify the time cost of admission. I'm not sure, but here I am still playing the game.