Just another lonely, terrorist-like blogger
My colleague Toby Bloomberg directed me to an article covering your book in which you label bloggers "lonely, melancholic, disillusioned" people. While a blow to my fragile ego...I take heart in seeing your findings were based on research spanning a whopping 9 bloggers (out of 55 million).
But who needs statistically sound research when one of your nine subjects discusses her identity through stories of her cats?
In "Blogosphere: A New Political Arena", you declare bloggers as "isolated and lonely, living in a virtual reality instead of forming real relationships or helping to change the world." Living in an energized city such as NYC I don't feel isolated. And while people have certainly described me through different adjectives--and I do have a cat--I've yet to be characterized as socially withdrawn. In addition to labeling us lonely, you also compared bloggers to terrorists. Geez, all I did was log-on this morning and now I'm some loser anarchist misfit.
You say that the community of support is not real but..
- How real is monetary support? You say the support from communities are not real and just vanish. But when one of our colleagues was in need we didn't vanish, we offered emotional and monetary support. This community is grounded in supporting one another, not vanishing.
- How real is saving my butt...for free? I've had bloggers give me ideas and their time to help me solve problems with client accounts--decisions which made the difference between a successful project and one that falls flat. You try losing a client and you'll see how real the ramifications can be. Far from vanish, they responded to me in near real-time.
- How real is being able to find consultants who've made it possible for me to juggle extra work? Through this community I've found experts whom I've hired to help me on client projects that I otherwise couldn't have taken on (and the deliverables were top-notch).
You say no real relationships are formed yet...
- How real is meeting scores of real people (who are really cool, to boot)? Through my travels I've met scores of bloggers. What's more? When they come to my city they meet me. Consequently Professor, there's far more to see in NYC than me...but they choose to make time to do so since they too regard these relationships as real and advancing.
- How about getting to attend conferences full of real people? My exposure through blogging has also enabled me to attend and cover events that I otherwise couldn't have--events brimming with valuable contacts, colleagues and potential clients.
- How real is helping other bloggers? I've been the recipient of and happily given advice and promotion to other bloggers; it's something we do for one another because seeing one another succeed is just plain satisfying to us.
You've said many things but how about answering...
- Perhaps it's not really real because it's not relevant to you? Maybe you don't find the new systems valid because they're not natural to you. While a cross-section of ages use social media, the younger generations find these tools to be especially natural in communications and relationship-building simply because they've been raised with them. I tried to learn more about your views but couldn't find your blog...could it be that you don't have one?
- You say we don't help to change the world but can't you see the world changing before you? The first step in any movement (or revolution) is organizing communities and creating systems for those communities to communicate, and take action. With the sheer mass of people building and bolstering online communities--with no borders like countries between them and limited barriers to access them--highly engaged communities are forming around various disciplines, causes and interests. To think those communities won't enact change--be those changes social, political or economical--is altogether short-sighted.
Perhaps your work was limited to personal bloggers vs. business bloggers but I hope you'll give marketing blogger Toby Bloomberg the respect of a response to her letter. You'll find her both informative and friendly--as well as connected to various communities (far greater in number than nine bloggers). In fact, I'll be contacting you to help ensure that you do.
Until then, I guess I'll just sit lonely at my blog. Hey, at least I've got my cat...
Just another lonely, terrorist-like blogger
P.S.: Do yourself a favor and review the responses from bloggers as to the value they find through this medium.