Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Blog Burnout

Christianity Today has a short but interesting article on blogs. It starts with this:

As weblogs proliferated earlier this decade, Andy Warhol's famous aphorism was modified to read, "In the future, everyone will be famous to 15 people." Now it looks like Warhol was right after all: Thanks to widespread blog burnout, everyone will be famous to 15 people for 15 minutes.

Tech researcher Gartner Inc. reported earlier this year that 200 million people have given up blogging, more than twice as many as are active.

"A lot of people have been in and out of this thing," Gartner analyst Daryl Plummer told reporters. "Everyone thinks they have something to say, until they're put on stage and asked to say it." Given the average lifespan of a blogger and the current growth rate of blogs, Gartner says blogging has probably peaked.

Which isn't to say that blogging is dead. Quite the opposite. Blog aggregator Technorati estimates that 3 million new blogs are launched every month. The site's tongue-in-cheek slogan: "Zillions of photos, videos, blogs, and more. Some of them have to be good."

Actually, some Christian blogs are very good. What tired bloggers are increasingly discovering, however, is that it's not necessarily the quality of their blog posts that matter. It's matching their quality with frequency.

Well, maybe, but I think a bigger problem is exposure. With so many blogs out there it really is hard to get noticed, and it's difficult to work hard at producing either quality or frequency when the feeling that you're just writing for yourself is creeping all over you.

Nevertheless, we here at Viewpoint keep plugging away, hoping that if you see something that interests you you'll link us to friends and that perhaps by word of mouth, so to speak, we'll gradually grow. Meanwhile, we continue to strive to bring you both quality and frequency. Thanks for reading us and telling others about us.


Seventeen Questions for Barack

George Will poses 17 questions for Barack Obama and in the process gives the reader the disconcerting impression that the Senator really hasn't thought through the things he says in public. Here are a few of the 17:

You advocate leaving in Iraq "some" U.S. forces for three missions -- fighting al Qaeda, training Iraqi security forces and protecting U.S. forces conducting those two missions. Some experts believe that even 60,000 U.S, troops would be insufficient for those functions -- even if the Iraqis were not, as they will be for the foreseeable future, dependent on U.S. logistics, transport, fire support, air support, armor and medivac capabilities.

What is your estimate of the numbers required by your policy? How, and in consultation with whom, did you arrive at your estimate? As to fighting terrorists but not insurgents -- how would soldiers and Marines tell the difference? If, while searching for terrorists, they make contact with insurgents, would your rules of engagement call for a full force response? You say all "combat brigades" should be out of Iraq "by the end of next year." Even if al-Qaeda is still dangerous? Who, after the end of next year, will protect U.S. noncombat forces that you say "will continue to protect U.S. diplomats and facilities" and to "train and equip" Iraqi forces?

Will assures us at the end of the piece that once Senator Obama answers his 17 questions there will be lots more where those came from. That should be troubling news for supporters of Senator Obama.


The Marketplace of Ideas

Peggy Noonan has a fine column on the open exchange of ideas within a society. It's a good reminder that we were once a people who valued ideas, even those which challenged our own orthodoxies, and even when their advocates were personally odious.

The concept of a free exchange of ideas was a classically liberal notion, but somewhere along the line we've lost it. Now when conservatives appear behind campus lecturns they have pies thrown at them. Those who fail to bow at the altar of politically correct opinion, like Harvard's Larry Summers, have their speaking invitations rescinded. Intelligent Design proponents are stripped of their teaching positions. Pro-life advocates are often shouted down when the speak in public. Radio talk show hosts are condemned on the floor of the Senate for saying things that were at best misunderstood and at worst deliberately and maliciously distorted in order to smear the host.

We no longer seem to prize diversity of opinion, today we want only assent and agreement. If you dissent, especially from the orthodoxies which reign on today's campuses, then you must be shut up one way or another. We have indeed lost something precious to the totalitarian wannabes who walk among us.


Hall of Fame Induction

The series of posts titled Inference to the Best Explanation has been collated and added to the Hall of Fame at the upper left margin of this page. A click on the link will bring up the entire series.

While you're at it you might wish to peruse some of the other inductees among that list.