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The Invisible Pedestal: Social Dangers of the Blogging Revolution

Late in the night, we sit alone behind the glow of a computer screen, typing at a speed which meets our capacity for thought. We pour ourselves into the keyboard. We put forth our opinions, our stories, our frustrations, our joys, our angers; more simply, we put forth ourselves. And when our thinking is complete, when we are ready to present our inner selves to the cyber universe, we do so with the simple click of a mouse.

And voila. It’s done.

I’m certainly not the first to view blogging with a certain level of skepticism, and I surely won’t be the last. Much has been made over a population which increasingly debates, argues and shares in virtual isolation, without seeing or being seen.

But I offer a more specific diagnosis of the problem therein. One which is a bit more subtle, less conspicuous, but I argue socially dangerous:

We assume the attention of others.

Seemingly gone are the days when we collectively appreciate and recognize that attention must be earned. Sure, pre-internet, and mostly pre mass-media, anyone who could find a soapbox and with a loud enough voice could command the attention of a crowd for a fleeting instant. But attention was granted for a fleeting instant only.

The speaker had to command and keep a crowd through the skill of his rhetoric – through his charm, his knowledge, his diction, his inflection, his presence. If the speaker didn’t pass muster, crowds would simply walk past,  clearly and explicity revealing that no one cared what he or she had to say, and inflicting a sense of humiliation which would make one more judicious in their decision to seek an audience.

Moving into the more modern, mass-media but pre-blogging days, columnists had to build a rapport with their readers in order to gather a following. We’d read them because of the astuteness of their observations, the quality of their writing, the uniqueness of their views. Indeed, they had to fight long and hard to reach their position of influence in a credible publication. They had a voice because they had earned it.

Today, however, there are no such barriers to entry. Anyone with an internet connection can set up their pedestal in an online world and rave and rant to their heart’s content. We assume that our positions are of interest to others. We assume that we know things which others don’t. Worse yet, we assume that we will be heard simply because we speak.

We need to be mindful of ways this might play out in the real, non-cyber society. Are we becoming more quick to speak and less quick to listen? Do we go about our lives believing with increasing conviction that we are right in our beliefs, that we have less to learn from others?

Perhaps most basically, do we live with an exagerated sense of self-importance, that we are inherently above the fray, and that the fray should recognize this and listen to what we have to say?

Bloggers, beware of your own selves.

Rich Fraiser is an online marketing expert. When he is not writing blog posts for SEO Services he is managing SEO, PPC, and link building campaigns for clients all over the United States.

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One Reply

  1. Mary Page Jan 10th 2012

    At times all the blogging and comments seem to be exaggerated self importance. I like to see it more as democracy in action and at its best. No longer do a few who happen to be charismatic garner all the attention. Now in this age of communication the average person and even sometimes the poverty person has an avenue to be heard. No other time in history has this ever happened. Information has always been controlled by the powers that be whether by royalty, government or corporations. It still happens even in cyber world, but the system is intentionally set up to not be closed but to be open to all the possibilities out there.Blogging is not always about attaining an audience. Sometimes it is an expression of writing for self or a select few. Not everything on the Internet is marketing. The beauty of the Internet is the viewer may select which blog to read or make a comment at. The censorship is at a minimum. One is allowed to have their thoughts and ideas without fear or much reprisal. That my colleague makes us the most free set of people that have ever been on this planet. Beware of reigning in such freedom of speech. If you do that successfully some day some one will do it to you. You are too good of a thinker and questioner to allow that to happen.:)

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