Digital Narcissm: Is blogging playing with yourself?

In the real world where people don’t live on-line 24 hours a day, with their internet connection at least as vital as Oxygen, I regularly come across people who display some unusual traits.

  1. They don’t blog.
  2. They don’t read blogs.
  3. They often read “papers” and trust these as reliable information sources.
  4. The terms Web2.0, Wiki’s, Blogs and Syndication may as well be Japaneese to them.

There’s actually more of them than you’d credit. So is blogging really the “new media”, or is it a frenzy of mutual self pleasure amongst a select few? I realise of course the irony of writing about this in a blog — most likely the exact people who will agree with this point are NOT online desperately awaiting my next post. Still, I can’t help but agree with many aspects of this argument as raised by Matthew Buckland at Poynter Online and the conclusion he reaches here:

I believe we have to keep our eyes wide open. Citizen media will probably never “replace” traditional media. Organized, corporate structures with incentives (such as salaries) produce quality and get the best out of human beings. It’s worked for centuries. But also in the citizen media sphere: the pressure of social ties, and the idea of doing good and maintaining a reputation is also powerful in ensuring quality.

A high quality information source doesn’t need the infrastructure of the blogosphere to support it — yes there are lots of occasions I find something interesting through browsing Technorati or Tag Clouds, but the best and generally most reputable news doesn’t need a ping mechanism to broadcast it’s latest view on the world. People go there because it’s reputable. Blogs will enhance and maintain this, but they won’t replace it.I think that’s why we often refer to the best of the bloggers as “citizen journalists” — that’s what they’ve become. High quality, reputable journalists, just unpaid.