Nosemonkey provides a long and interesting peice on the cliques and changes abound in blog network.
This is the main concern. If we all start meeting up in the real world and communicating via email rather than just comment boxes etc, is this likely to turn us all into some kind of nepotistic clique in just as bad a way as the mainstream press (pretty much) is? This whole obsession with ID cards, 90 Days etc is a prime case in point – in some areas it’s already almost turning into a Britblog hive mind…
The ‘hive mind’ idea is a popular one in science fiction, which in turn reminds me of the SETI screen-saver, where your computer analyses radio noise from the heavens in its spare time, looking for a pattern. The idea of a blog-hive-mind is like this too: Many people analysing lots of information. As Nosemonkey points out, the sheer volume of information being churned out by the established and online media means that we cannot read it all, and we cannot verify all of what we read. But the ‘blogosphere’ means we don’t have to. Between us all, we read everything, and between us we recommend the best of what we have read. The most interesting and controversial articles, or those that somehow capture the zeitgeist of the hour, will succeed in the market-place of ideas.
And the marketplace is not a bad comparision either. Why not concieve of the internet as a giant public square, where the best price can be obtained for your goods, you are sold exactly what you want, avoid tedious discussions, and spend more time finding precisely the right people to be friends with, and to argue with?