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U TN Survey of Blogs and Bloggers
May 8, 2003 5:59 PM   Subscribe

Be heard! A Survey of Blogs and Bloggers.
Any opinions regarding weblogs vs. regular news coverage, or the war in Iraq?

Researchers at the U of Tennessee would like to know. Would you read something that has lots of in-depth information, even if it's not particularly fair, accurate, or believable? Even if you disagree with it? Does the stuff you run across online influence your opinions, or are you more interested in entertainment / finding something to talk about with people? Do you like the standard commercial media, or do you put more stock in instant messaging, group weblogs, and (yikes) real live humans?
posted by sheauga (17 comments total)

 
Would you read something that has lots of in-depth information, even if it's not particularly fair, accurate, or believable? Even if you disagree with it?

I read MetaFilter, don't I...?

Thanks - I'll be here all night, folks!
posted by davidmsc at 6:03 PM on May 8, 2003


Note: I'm not involved with this survey. But it did set me to thinking - why is information that's not particularly fair or believable so much more interesting sometimes?
posted by sheauga at 6:04 PM on May 8, 2003


Same reason that people believe in religion, folklore, myths, superstition, etc, and read plenty of fiction.
posted by davidmsc at 6:16 PM on May 8, 2003


But it did set me to thinking - why is information that's not particularly fair or believable so much more interesting sometimes?

For me (and this is a purely personal thing) it's because spin - in particular spin that forwards a political agenda I dislike - fascinates me. In a sense, seeing arguments presented in an unfair or factually dubious manner gently reminds me that I should try not to do the same thing. Plus, it's always interesting to have my views challenged, even if it is by someone I consider to be a waste of valuable oxygen.

I must admit, I lost patience with the survey half-way through. Interesting as I'm sure the results will be, was there really enough distinction between different media sources? For example, lumping the New York Times with USA Today, or CNN and Fox with (presumably) Al-Jazeera and the BBC - different styles, different perspectives, different approaches. It's very hard to give an answer that fairly reflects such a wide range of news sources. And I got bored.
posted by zygoticmynci at 6:28 PM on May 8, 2003


z... agreed. zzz I got bored too - very repetitive questions/answers, but what the hey, I answered anyway.
posted by harja at 6:44 PM on May 8, 2003


But it did set me to thinking - why is information that's not particularly fair or believable so much more interesting sometimes?

Sheauga - me too. Apart from being more sensational and clear-cut, thanks to its simplicities, there's something attractive about its brazenness. Paradoxically, by turning on our BS antennae, it can sometimes be more transparent and thus easier to decode.

When you know where that information is coming from and, so to speak, where it wants to lead us, we can make the necessary adjustements and learn something about the character of the particular viewpoint that produced it.

No, I don't know either. Perhaps the fault lies in us? ;)

I'm so glad to have you back and posting!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:53 PM on May 8, 2003


Oops, in my excitement, I forgot to italicize sheauga's words:

But it did set me to thinking - why is information that's not particularly fair or believable so much more interesting sometimes?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:55 PM on May 8, 2003


For example, lumping the New York Times with USA Today, or CNN and Fox with (presumably) Al-Jazeera and the BBC - different styles, different perspectives, different approaches. It's very hard to give an answer that fairly reflects such a wide range of news sources.
Also, lumping all/any weblogs together... I go to different weblogs for different reasons.
posted by harja at 6:55 PM on May 8, 2003


The survey does seem to assume that weblogs are primarily a politics / news discussion forum. No mention of good ol' fasion link lovin' at all, really. However, I think I agree to an extent with zygoticmynci - one of my reasons for reading Metafilter, in particular, is to see how to argue and how not to argue - to identify lies, and the methods used to tell them. To sample the full spectrum of political obsession and apathy. And to learn, ultumately, the futility of debating with extremists and the wisdom of keeping in touch with the middle ground.
posted by Jimbob at 7:16 PM on May 8, 2003


Yeah, I agree that the survey wasn't very well thought out or defined.
posted by dejah420 at 7:25 PM on May 8, 2003


These questions are poorly framed, if you ask me. What is "Weblog information"? What does "rely on" mean? Overwhelmingly [look at the Blogdex Top 100, e.g.] it's a link to one of the other sources mentioned. Web
logs are not a form of media unto themselves, if you ask me. (OK, I KNOW you didn't.) They are a media filtering system. If you are doing it right, that is.

Snap judgment. Hut hut hike!
posted by hairyeyeball at 7:41 PM on May 8, 2003


Very true, hairyeyeball - weblogs are a media filtering system; before the term "weblog" became most common, "filter" was an equivalent term (hence, MetaFilter). Try to convince many of the recent new crop of bloggers of this, though - many possess a firm belief that they are in possession of a novel journalistic platform. I guess synthesis of facts from a number of different sources is a potential contribution they can make, but hey, don't we all do that in our heads anyway.
posted by Jimbob at 7:51 PM on May 8, 2003


I still don't understand why people who don't know anything about weblogs think they are somehow related to journalism. Maybe the links to and pontifications about major media news articles are all that survive the ear-shaking reverberations of the media echo chamber. Or, more likely, journalistic accounts of weblogs and webloggers focus on whatever looks like journalism because that's all they understand.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:18 PM on May 8, 2003


Yes, I gravitate intensely towards information rich resources.
posted by rudyfink at 12:18 AM on May 9, 2003


I am a journalist!



No wait, that's not true.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:08 AM on May 9, 2003


one of my reasons for reading Metafilter, in particular, is to see how to argue and how not to argue - to identify lies, and the methods used to tell them. To sample the full spectrum of political obsession and apathy. And to learn, ultumately, the futility of debating with extremists and the wisdom of keeping in touch with the middle ground.

Ditto.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:26 AM on May 9, 2003


I'm a journalist, and so's my wife!
posted by dash_slot- at 2:27 AM on May 9, 2003


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