Blaise Cronin is the Dean of SLIS (School
of Library and Information Science) at Indiana University.
One wonders for whom these hapless souls blog. Why do they choose to expose their unremarkable opinions, sententious drivel and unedifying private lives to the potential gaze of total strangers? What prompts this particular kind of digital exhibitionism? The present generation of bloggers seems to imagine that such crassly egotistical behavior is socially acceptable and that time-honored editorial and filtering functions have no place in cyberspace. Undoubtedly, these are the same individuals who believe that the free-for-all, communitarian approach of Wikipedia is the way forward. Librarians, of course, know better.
Oooh, good way to pick a fight. I suppose he read, for example, Frank Paynter and his friends on Why Do We Blog? Oh, maybe not?
Cronin does get high marks for a clever acronym: BLOG: see also
Bathetically Ludicrous Online Gibberish. Too bad he totally
misunderstands the utility of the medium. His diatribe undercuts his
standing as an information scientist. It is a bit like scoffing at the
utility of the photocopy machine in the age of the printing press. His research skills look a bit lame, too. Hey, I'm just a housewife, but:
It is old news, though, this blogs-are-drivel. Greg Hill started a kerfuffle in November 2004.
And it is very sad that Cronin, a professor, a teacher, totally misses the utility of blogs in teaching. There's Weblogg-ed, of course; but it is run by "just a high school teacher"; there's a "webliography" (don't care for the word, but it is a dandy article)
Andrew Johnson writes an introduction to blogs and teaching writing. A meditation, from 2003, on blogs as course managment tools and instructional tools. Here: Killing off blogs in education.
Two other points of view:
Cronin's screed was written the way most anti-blog pieces are written. I just heard about blogs, the author says, and boy, are blogs dumb
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'.
Previous posted here on blogging: Sturgeon's Law; International Blog Comment Week; 10 Bloggers You Could Enjoy Reading; BlogHerCon (and my comments on blogging); Skeptics's Circle (unremarkable opinions my sainted Aunt Sallie) A start on Blog Policies.
To be fair, there are a lot of blogs, often including this one, that are of interest only to those who write them and a few others. I just thought of another analogy: most photographs are bad, and few are of interest to anyone but the photographer. Do we then smash all the cameras? Ridicule the art of photography?