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Via Kairosnews comes an article from Tech Central Station The Blogosphere: All Grown Up Now. It's a remarkably un-selfconscious discussion of the capital-B Blogosphere. Leaving aside the mock-snotty title ("My, don't you look all grown up!"), which may not have come from the author, there are a number of things worth objecting to.

Chief among them are the notions that (a) there is such a thing as "the Blogosphere," (b) the Blogosphere is an institution, (c) this thing aspires to the status of Big Media and as such, should be treated as a child of said media, and/or (d) the test of the maturity of media is its participants' ability to critique themselves. I could go on, I suppose, but I'd rather let the article speak for itself:

Ask most bloggers why they decided to put thought to pixels in the first place, and they will tell you that they were -- and are -- quite disillusioned with the inability of certain Big Media outlets to correct and criticize other outlets for at times putting out patently false information, making fallacious arguments, or allowing ideological or institutional bias to color their reporting. Because Big Media has so often fallen asleep on the job when it comes to self-criticism, an outside institution like the Blogosphere is better suited to serve as a sort of ombudsman for Big Media. The overwhelming majority of blogs are not connected to any Big Media institutions, so it is easier for blogs to take on Big Media when it makes an error.

Where do we even start with this? "Most bloggers"? The fact that, in a description of blogs, the phrase "Big Media" appears more often than the thing being described? I'm not sure why "it is easier for blogs" (and why not "bloggers"?) because they're not connected to BM, etc. etc. Perhaps the worst problem going on here, though, is simply the assumption that blogs (or bloggers or the Blogosphere) represents some kind of univocal phenomenon with clear motivations, relationships, values, etc. To be fair, the article speaks of decentralization, but even then, it's in terms of the "inherent decentralization of the institution," which may be a rare 3-term oxymoron.

Treating "the Blogosphere" as a "grown-up" because it's "self-correcting" seems to me to miss out on a lot. It's not that there's any lack of self-correction, self-obsession, or narcissism on the part of Big Media; indeed, that's one of the biggest reasons that I for one am turned off by a lot of it. The predictable cycle of news, coverage, overcoverage, then self-critique of overcoverage is tiresome, tiresome, tiresome. Big Media directs our attention, and often in ways that we ourselves resist (and this despite their frequent, self-interested, and ultimately false claims that they're simply giving us what we want). If there is a Blogospherical institution, it's not because we all hope to become part of the Next Big Media--it's because blogs offer some of us a chance to tap into conversations, networks, issues at a level where we get to choose our own cycles, to direct our own attention.