Don’t you hate when Christian is shortened to Xtian? I don’t exactly hate it, but it does remind me of my time on Atheist forums where they deliberately diss Christians with that term. I didn’t realize I disliked it so much until I came upon a comment ( by a Christian) using it.
More and more the comments sections of Christian blogs aren’t filled with dissenters, but the people who always agree with whatever is posted.
which does seem to follow the online process I noted back in 2000:
(2/18/2000) I ran across an article with the statement, “Many users of email and chat groups tend to seek out only like-minded individuals”. If my experience so far is any indication, I think this is true; and it’s an unsettling situation. One of the things that I felt was so attractive about the net was the unsurpassed opportunity to interact with people from very different circumstances and circles than myself. To expose my own mind to different viewpoints and to express mine to people I would otherwise never encounter was a euphoric prospect. Naivité , thy name is newbie.
The actual experience I have had is the trolling or baiting that simply shuts down open conversation. I expect to be closely examined and even criticised on subjects that are controversial, but when my views were used to neatly pigeonhole me in a nice closed little file, I found myself gainsayed in even the most bland and universal of subjects, which seems like a waste of everyones time. “The weather is great here” ” Oh, aren’t you patronizing and condescending to us (implied, you pompous and insensitive person)?” Does one answer, ignore, or drop out? If I had only truly patronized their views earlier, I could, tentatively, of course- for this is how people become on the net- put forth most any little tidbit. It is political correctness in its strictest, most stultifying form. Be Yourself, as long as WE agree…and we’ll flame you like you’ve never been flamed if you don’t capitulate. And so, people learn to congregate in their own constricted groups; even more so than in real life. How small and mean.
So, I implore you, dear reader, can you recognize that your fellow man is far more complex than profiles and subgroups? We may change each other, we may not, but we certainly can understand more of each other if we allow open communication; sharp, bland, sensitive, or rankling.
~from Ilona’s Reflecting Pool
It just seems that as more people are blogging, they are gravitating to familiarity, or more succinctly, this is what the majority of people do, and so the mavericks that like to engage different forms of thinking are necessarily a smaller number of the total. They will seem to be a shrinking number as the web fills with a more representative mix of types of people normally found in society at large.
But it isn’t only that. Some of what happens is a phenomenon that I didn’t experience until after I had written that opinion, which is the group dynamic found in forums. Not all forums, but particular ones where it was cultivated. There is a great deal of manipulative psychology that goes on in online interaction. Not that it isn’t elsewhere, just that in my little world, the online manifestation of it is the most apparent to me. There is a group peer pressure that has specific manners of enforcing groupthink. Maybe I will post a draft I wrote on the topic many moons ago.
If nothing else, participation in blogging gives you an education of such dynamics. Painful, but educational nonetheless.
Aside from this, the business world is getting a heads up on blogging and its exponential increase. The numbers of articles in business publications.
Technorati founder sees blog explosion
By Frank Barnako, MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The founder of the blog-indexing service Technorati says he sees no let up in the growth of the medium
This means we will see a tectonic shift in the way blogs are used on the web, as business has very different purposes and needs compared to personal publishing. More Madison Avenue, if you will. You gain sophistication, but lose originality and the grassroots touch. Then, too, the need to sell a bill of goods is more prominanent than ever in that venue. And we all know what that means in terms of honesty and information.
I have a past post or two about that around here somewhere.
But back to the post I was commenting on:
Is Christian blogging a waste of time? I don’t know. Is Christian reading? Is Christian movie watching? Is Christian entertainment? It just depends on a whole lot of things. In terms of ministry, there is not always a quantifiable measure of efficacy in ministry, you do it because the Lord calls you to do it. In terms of your time, that is always up for grabs as you have to reorganize priorities regularly.
Will many Christian writers get buried in the ‘press’ of sheer quantity of bloggers? Yes, that is fairly easy to predict. I suppose the challenge is there for those who have the ingenuity to create venues of discovery and promotion for quality Christian blogs. Can that happen without the admixture of cronyism and petty favoritism? Or even more barriers than that? What consititutes a ‘quality blog’ under the new forms the blogosphere will mutate to?
My own pathway is just put myself out there, and not worry too much about stellar results. Popularity is a frivolous thing, as Proverbs 31 points out: Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.