Blogging News (thanks for the recent links, Hylton) quotes The Weigh In on the limited effectiveness of punditoblogging (compare the Tom Tomorrow cartoon in the back of the most recent New Yorker on “diminishing returns”), writing “Blogging’s not enough.”
Reading the entry, I was struck by the resonance with Rebecca Blood‘s concern about bloggers writing to each other in small echo chambers. Dave Copeland describes himself in this extended excerpt as a warblogger and expresses frustration about not being able to reach out and change the minds of “The people who we need to influence, whose minds need to be changed” at the same time communicating a clear in-group subtext through use of warblogger jargon:
[B]logging is not enough anymore for me. It’s no secret that I (and many other bloggers) started doing this as a result of 9/11. We wanted to do something. Anything. Since we couldn’t pick up weapons and physically pound all those radical Islamic scumbags into dust, we had to settle for more civilized ways to contribute. So information dissemination is what we chose, mostly on the conservative, pro-America side of the debate. And now blogging’s all growns up, the tipping point has been reached, it’s everywhere.
I have learned so much in the last year, crossed paths with so many memorable, literate, loyal, patriotic, anti-idiotarian people, from all over the world. Blogging has done me irreversible good. But I feel that I must at some point move beyond wide-ranging news stories and analysis. I’m not sure what that means… outright commitment to a political party or candidate in my region, a very-focused group blog that seeks to be an expert on a specific topic or issue, contributing somehow to the Iraq war effort, joining the military (just kidding Lindsey, but not by that much), going to law school (which is my primary intent for next fall). I feel the need to do more. I’m not doing enough. Blogging’s not enough. Not enough to shut up Susan Sontag, or Gnome Chomsky, or Bill Clinton, or Yassir Arafat.
Also think on this: most of the bloggers whom I read are conservative and libertarian, and are warbloggers. We pretty much all believe in the same basic principles. We all link to and comment on the same news stories. We all cross-link and reference each other’s posts. You see where I’m heading? … down the path to groupthink. The people who we need to influence, whose minds need to be changed, those people are not reading my blog. Although I’m amazed at how much new information I am learning to support and counter my beliefs on a daily basis, I feel that I need to somehow start connecting with the people who don’t agree with me. I need to sharpen my chops through more debate, more conflict, more exposure to the idiotarians and the anointed, if you will.
I detect more of a zeal to convert than a desire to reach out to those of other convictions, but the impulse to cross over boundaries and expand one’s conversation must be encouraged. I’m guilty of the same foibles with my own occasional forays into political opinion blogging tend to show my biases all too well, so I know all them other fingers are pointing back at me.