Blog Reflections

There was an interesting opinion column in this past Sunday’s Outlook section of the Post, “It’s a Little Too Cozy in the Blogosphere,” by Jennifer Howard. It’s worth reading in its entirety, but one contention that struck me is her observation that blogs are becoming little more than mutual admiration societies, lacking in actual information. It got me thinking about where Prometheus Unleashed fit into the blog community at large, specifically as viewed through this particular lens.

One way in which I think this blog differs from many is that I spend less effort linking to content than talking about it. I’ve always envisioned this as more writing exercise than information center. While I do link to outside content in virtually every entry I submit, it’s not usually anything folks couldn’t find on their own — and usually, it’s in the Post, which does, after all, have more than a modest readership. While I am anxious to direct people to news items they may have missed, I’ve always felt an obligation to add something to the process, even if it’s little more than a poorly-thought-out rant on the subject.

Author Robert Anton Wilson is fond of pointing out that, in mathematical information theory, true information necessarily includes unpredictability; the more likely you are to predict the outcome of an event, the less information it contains. To cite an easy example, a work of poetry contains far more information than a political speech; a good political speech may be more enjoyable than bad poetry, but you’re rarely surprised by the content of a political speech — for the most part, you can tell going in what it’s going to contain (particularly a Duh-bya speech). In that vein, I’ve at least tried to provide a perspective that isn’t what you might hear elsewhere — namely, my opinion, for what it’s worth. I may not always succeed, but that’s my goal, anyway.

As for the “mutual admiration society” aspect of things, I’ve tried to avoid being overly effusive in my praise. Oh, I’ll provide congratulations where they’re due, but even so, it’s usually in the context of pointing out something worthwhile to my readership, something I’d recommend giving a look-see. And while I do provide links to other weblogs, I’ve started shying away from the “reciprocal link” idea. Hell, I use my blog page as my own “bookmarks” page — the links you see are to pages I read, not ones who’ve simply agreed to host a link back to me. Frankly, I’d rather keep a smaller group of readers who actually read the content than a larger group of folks just passing through. Nothing wrong with making people aware of what I’ve got here, but it’s never been my primary purpose.

I’m writing this, first and foremost, for myself. I love sharing with others, but that will always be secondary to my own benefit from this exercise. I think I’d be better off generating traffic via personal recommendation than by random connections.

And besides, if I start getting too many folks through here, I’ll have to start paying more for bandwidth usage...


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