Tuesday, April 10, 2007
The most reliable subject on which to blog is blogging. Bloggers, a navel-gazing breed, love it. Currently, we have Tim O'Reilly suggesting a six point charter of blog conduct and Oliver Kamm trashing political bloggery in an article that had Iain Dale and half the blogosphere spitting blood. Kamm is easily dismissed. He's not really talking about blogs, but about the modern media environment and his position, in this article at least, is meaningless. He writes, 'Such is the ideological chaos of modern Conservatism...the notion of the wisdom of crowds: knowledge emerges in a collaborative process rather than being dictated by experts.' There is no form of Conservatism in which knowledge is dictated by experts - indeed, how could an expert dictate knowledge? I think I know what Kamm is avoiding saying - that we need wise rulers - but wise rulers are not experts, quite the opposite in fact. The expert in power is a malign, utopian, technophile fantasy. O'Reilly's code of conduct is all very well and may, indeed, persuade a few bloggers to wear a 'Civility Enforced' badge with pride. But so what? The point that they are all missing is that very few people read blogs. I almost never meet anybody who has read even a single blog. Of course, some bloggers get a lot of 'traffic' and this convinces them that they are powers in the land, but their readers are drawn from a very limited pool. The truth is that, at the moment, blogging is a highly specialised business. Of course, many politicians do read blogs because they are so self-regarding, but, if they all stopped reading tomorrow, their electorates would be utterly unaffected. If blogs ever do become widely read, then a weeding out process should occur in which some will be endowed with authority and some won't. (This, of course, assumes a reasonably educated electorate - but that is another matter.) At that point all current discussions will look quite ridiculous.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 5:52 am