Interactive C-SPAN: Beats blogging, baby!

Broadcast | Access/Network
I just had an interactive conversation in a community forum about the subject of the blogs, with the one individual who asserts that I am a blogger– and the whole conversation hapened without a blog!

So I thought I’d break format and blog it. No editing, no thinking, mad linking, and a minimum of shifting text around.

David Weinberger, who I encounter more in cybserspace than down the street (he also lives in Washington Square, the setting for an essay in the spring), is a serial blogger ( JOHO, Many-to-Many, Berkman Center) appeared on C-SPAN’s Digital Future, which I remembered to watch this evening. Here’s his blog post about it.

So I sent in a question, and wouldn’t you know, it was the third question the hostess took from “the viewers” who them in. She chuckled as she summarized the first paragraph “A neighbor of yours in Brookline writes,” and read the second paragraph out loud:

I’m a neighbor of David’s in Brookline, and also part of the emerging “activist tech” community which we both belong to. I don’t consider myself a “blogger” but an online essayist (

My question for David about blogs is whether we will see a collaborative rating system which can help researchers– both academic and casual– quickly ascertain the reliability of what they are reading. If this comes about, would this threaten the “folk” nature of blogging?


Jon Garfunkel

This was my easy question. I had thought of asking whether an online essayist can be labelled a “blogger”, but thought that was too personal. What I asked was more fitting since a few of the previous questioners had framed some ill-conceived questions as to whether some of the more useless blogs could be removed somehow. (David’s response: are the thought police listening?)

So he agreed that a rating system would make sense, there should not be a universal rating system, but ones driven by communities. Hence “collaborative” as I have suggested. I still disagree with David on a number of points. I don’t buy the notion that “links create value”– not all links are valuable. He is a champion of blogs whereas I think the blog format is too loose to be of use. (Leading to my proposed Civ structure). One of the latter questioners pointed out that from MOOs and MUDs (real-time, multi-user chats) to Friendster, there have always been neat new things on the Internet; why are blogs any different?

Ok, I’m done. I hate having to write in real-time as the blog ethos expects, so I did my best. It took me a bit of time. In the interim between hearing my question answered, I finished my dinner, watched the end of the program, starting writing this piece, surfed through some of the Weinberger blog universe, opened by mail, found out Condi Rice was the new Secretary of State, deleted spam, started working on my bio to send to my the 10th precinct Town Meeting Members, logged onto Friendster to check my popularity, cleaned the kitchen, made a fact-check correction on my website, and took a phone call from another neighbor of mine, Jonathan Davis, who when he’s not creating the comic strip Garfield (ok, another Jon Davis), has been asking me to fill a vacancy in the town meeting. So I have to write up my bio for the 10th. It’s only natural; I was watching the poll results that night, too. More on that to come. I may not blog, but I behave strangely like someone who does.

Update: Ok, I edited this piece to add the link to David’s blog post. And I remembered one thing that I also disagree with David on: he made the point that one of the salient features of blogs are that they are unedited, they contain mistakes, but that’s not a problem, since that engenders the ethos of forgiveness. Huh? I don’t like making mistakes, which is why I make the effort to edit and fact-check and re-write. There was one time where I one of my factual errors was pointed out in a public forum– on C-SPAN’s forums, of all places. So I signed up for the forum, acknowledged the mistake, and thanked the readers for pointing it out. They forgave me, blog or no blog.