Proactive Reaction

I keep hearing people in the media say blogs "react" to news or are "reactionary" in nature.

Effen duh.

Sure, some manage to make the jump to quasi-journalistic status. Some become influential somehow but overall blogs are diaries. They'll evolve over time but in its purest form it's a place to be vocal and offer opinions.

To me, I see it as a conscience of media and society at large. We're more proactive-reaction. How to put this? Let's see. Let's take entrepreneurs and businessmen. Some people want to own a business but not all can build one from scratch - either because they don't have an idea (which makes them less of an entrepreneur) or don't have the skills to launch one - so they do the next best thing: They buy a franchise. Along the way, they learn business and may or may not branch out and take the final step.

Same with blogging-journalism. Blogging can be seen as a franchise solution (for some aspiring writers. Most are just plain happy to blog for its own sake) to exploring a career they may have overlooked.

For the longest time we just had to accept or at best write a letter to the editor to give our opinions. Now, people with their own personal thoughts and ideas can say, "hey, that's not what I think here's why..."

 For instance, I can see this title on Time "Is America Islamophobic" come back here and write, "that's a retarded title" for many reasons.

Media once upon a time, when techonology wasn't what it is today, had a "captive-influence" advantage in that all information passed through them. With the internet, that position of informational power has been softened and blurred if not obilerated.

The more cocky smug mainstreamers will add bloggers "wear pjamas while living in their mother's basement." First off, pretty presumptuous. How do they know we grew up with single parents, huh? Eh?

Of course, they didn't check their sources to confirm if that's true and we all know media don't "react" or play "shill" games.

I'll tell you one thing, I don't live in my mother's basement, (well, I did. Once. Long ago) consider myself to be successful and dress as smoothly as any Rat Pack member.

Better than the average journalist I've seen anyway.


  1. Blogs and Vlogs are a reality check on an aging institution called the mass media. Bloggers and Vloggers take the "professionals" down a couple of big notches.

    Of course we are generally "reactive" and so too the news media, which means that we are doing much the same thing and often doing it with a more personal, critical, and interesting spin. All of a sudden the columnist for the major paper, or the talking heads on the TV don't really seem all that, well, all-knowing.

    They are just people with forums and big mouths -- just like us and nothing more. Makes you wonder, just how much credibility or deference we really need to show these guys.

  2. You basically said what I wanted to say - only better.

    B.I - Before Internet - the set up flattered them.

    Now, whenever they publish something it's scrutinized immediately and ubiquitously. If you believe in the wisdom of crowds, what can be more impressive?

  3. You're not doing much in defense of the nobility of blogging by judging a book by its cover (or an article by its title, rather than its content).

    Regarding the content of your post... no media ever had a captive influence. Media in the past was merely a central signal sent to the masses, not by a nefarious plot but by necessity. The internet allows masses to talk directly to the masses, but the messages ultimately reach few people per transmittor.

    The most interesting thing to see is what is most popular. It doesn't tend to be revolutionary, skeptical, or even any kind of philosophical content that draws the most readers. People ultimately like to be entertained, and the most popular blogs are personal vanity blogs with compelling content. The free market doesn't appear to be producing more important content than traditional media.

    Don't get me wrong, I clearly support blogging... I just don't wish to aggrandize it or even suggest my ideas reach more than a tiny handful of fellow assholes who are reading it only to argue with me. No one reading this content is open to changing their perspective, so in a way... blogging ends up isolating people into communities that stagnate and result in little more than the reading of social scripts, rehashing the same old bickerings.

  4. My intent wasn't to aggrandize blogging but to mount a mild defense of it.

    Signal or not, they moulded opinion free of rebuttal.

    Now. Well. With shnooks like us around...

  5. Do you lack faith in mankind to form opinions independent of their media - perhaps from friends, family, and acquantices?

    For as long as there have been newspapers, there has been no shortage of rebuttals or even outright refusals to consume media. Some media even sell their message on the premise that they are revolutionary or counter to the mainstream.

    I just hope blogging lets more people get involved in the intellectual process of society, even if they fly an anti-intellectual banner while throwing around polysyllabic diatribes on the virtues of listening to smart people like themselves.

  6. Some days I think mankind is lame, other times great. But never believe it's obsolete.

    You know?

  7. Ginx has a good point, and an even better way of saying it too. Entertainment oriented blogs have often huge followings. Zeus is one of those assholes with only a handful. I really need to post some Lady Gaga stuff.

    I don't think the mass media is a conspiratorial thing (that admission will probably cost this asshole a few subscribers), but a specific cultural segment that is not always too broad or representative of the larger population. What the Blogosphere does allow is for the kind of very specific market segmentation and specialization, in both content and adverstising,that was only the provenance of radio just a couple of decades ago. It is a fascinating development in which very specific forums can cater to the interests and temperaments of very small, and potentially important groups of viewers, typically in a two way form of communication.

  8. Yes both of youz make good points.

    My main point, however, before Ginx zeroed in on my "captive influence" assertion (I knew it was going to get me in some trouble), was a blog is capable of being proactive depending on the ability of the writer. They're not just reactive.

    A specific niche will command traffic. Cars, entertainment, sports etc. Once you focus on cars and only cars you build credibility. That leads to a loyal readership and so on.

    Blogs like this one, as I discussed with SE not so long ago, is too free form and not always in concert with current affairs; therefore it likely doesn't give itself a chance to build anything.

    I want to appeal to eccentrics who don't live within a prescribed boundary anyway.

    Judging by who leaves comments, who visits and who reads, I think I more or less achieved that goal.

  9. I think Zeus made an important point, because I forgot to mention that blogging is not only a masses-to-masses format, it is also two-way. It's not only Proactive and reactive, it's interactive. This is unprecedented media, frankly.

    Perhaps the most interesting application of this is in traditional media converting to an online format. If a news agency runs a story that allows comments, a discussion/debate/flame war can take place right beneath, with all those wishing to take part able to jump in. It's sort of an orgy of information.

    I focused on atheism for a year on my blog, and I got about a dozen followers. When I started making fun of Republican, I got about a dozen more followers. When I made fun of Democrats, I got half a dozen retards following me as well. When I made fun of the south, I lost about 5 followers. It's been really odd seeing what people like to read and what turns them off.


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