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Friday, April 29, 2005

Well, other people are referring to this article:Dean's Notes: BLOG: see also Bathetically Ludicrous Online Gibberish, so I may as well too. It's written by Blaise Cronin, the Jeremy Irons of the Library World. I met him once; nice guy. It was in the very early days of email, and my organisation had just got it, and he sent himself a message saying 'Well here we are and isn't it fun?' (make of that what you will). He does admit that some weblogs are 'highly professional, reliable and informative', but then in his last two paragraphs goes on to trash the vast majority of weblogs. The guy has a point - lots of them are pretty dire, though I think 'sententious drivel' is a bit harsh. He goes on to say that 'such crassly egotistical behaviour ... [has] no place in cyberspace.

This is where I'd disagree with him. The great thing about the web is that there's infinate space for people to be, or do what they want. If people want to write their journals or thoughts or jottings, why shouldn't they? Most people are not professional writers; that's not what it's about. It's about the freedom of expression, and if it makes people happy to 'expose their unremarkable opinions' and 'unedifying private lives' who is he, or anyone else, to criticise? For many, writing a blog is a hobby - we don't go around telling amateur paintings that they shouldn't paint because they're not at the standard of Constable.

It's difficult enough to get the point across to information professionals that weblogs can be an extremely useful way of providing information, or that they're a useful business tool and so on, and articles of this nature make the job that much harder. I really wish that he'd written a more considered and balanced article, rather than a quick piece with lots of inflammatory sound bites; he's done a disservice to himself and everyone else who decides to express themselves, even 'hapless souls'.

Of course, the irony of the whole thing is that without weblogs, I wouldn't have found the article in the first place.
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