Sunday, August 08, 2004

Blogging, the Media and a Wandering Head

My head just isn't sticking with things that are too far removed from my immediate daily concerns. I haven't the energy. There are dozens of posts in the half-finished stage, languishing in a file. All of them started with clarity and purpose, but stopping in the middle without a major ah-ha and no final point. I could blame it on burnout, on summer, on taking classes just because I needed a few more credits to graduate (even if I like two of them). I could blame it on the hoops one has to jump to get the University to change my classification (to grad level for fall), or financial aid woes (more classification problems- I couldn't take a pre-req until I was accepted -which I was- but until I pass the pre-req my status is conditional, which bottom lined means limited funds available). I could blame it on no time and a home that is really bothering me in its disarray. But for whatever reason, my old stuff is much more thoughtful than anything I have posted here in some time. Today is no different, unfortunately.

This caught my eye, about blogging and the media, but I don't know where I would head with it. I agree with several things including a quote from a different major blogger that rang true with large bells. The things that I will snip and quote here aren't the half of what was said. So please do go read AnilDash.

First the quote from phil ringnalda dot com within the AnilDash post: "But what really gores my ox is the awareness that, since every news article I read about something I actually know is completely, utterly, absolutely, factually, wrong, I have to assume that all the ones I read about things I don't know are just as wrong. Maybe they get eight out of ten facts in the article right. How do I know which eight, or more importantly, which two?"

THIS is one of my major pet peeves. I should not have to read five or more supposed trusted news sources to get an approximation of the true picture. There are far too many times I have seen an event or read a document in full only to find it reported entirely out of context and always with an agenda. I understand we all see things through our own subjective lenses, but an attempt can be made to be as unbiased as possible. If I want to read editorials, I will look for editorials. But everything seems to be a disguised editorial these days.

There is much more meat in AnilDash on Media Discontent,, which is where I saw the Ringalda quote along with this snippet that someday I want to say something more about: "To be fair, I generally think this is more the fault of the editors who assign stories than the writers who are assigned to them, except when it's freelancers pitching the pieces. When I was asked the other day "are there other tragedies than Dooce's firing or Michael Hanscom's Microsoft adventures?" I had sent the following reply:

One thing I would suggest is considering a, well, more uplifting angle. There have been an awful lot of "blogs can cost you your job!" or "make money fast with blogs!" stories, and very few that cover the positive reasons people have weblogs.

For a lot of your audience, this is their first impression of what weblogs can be, and frankly, if they were all about dire consequences, there wouldn't be millions of people publishing weblogs every day.
Most of the people in my social circle have met their spouses/significant others, gotten apartments, gotten jobs, made friends, or (in my case) all of the above because of their weblogs. All that *plus* they get to participate in a new medium instead of just passively consuming media.

In addition to media bias and how weblogs might sometimes be a help to sorting out truth, the social context of weblogs is part of what interests me. I know a lot of people who met first online- in a variety of social and business activities. We are adding to the ways we relate to one another with online sharing and communication. I am thinking beyond the blog now with all the various online and electronic ways we connect. But it would at best be a half thought out post, so I leave the notes here for a "someday".

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