Are you wasting your time
reading this stuff?

No one promotes personal and social media more than me. Iíve written at length about the tremendous advantages the personalization of communication practices have brought about. Media, Communication, Culture, Culture in the Communication Age, and Culture-on-Demand all lay out strong arguments for the decentralization of media content and the vital role of alternative media of all types, including blogs, in changing the global political and cultural landscape.

Social media, especially Twitter, created global visibility for the recent democratic uprising in Iran. The brutal killing of Neda Agha Sultan on the streets of Tehran was captured by a bystander using the video feature of a mobile phone. The image was sent out via social media and picked up by mainstream media outlets all over the world where it was broadcast repeatedly. Neda became an unforgettable symbol of resistance to Iranís poisonous theocratic regime. Blogs helped circulate the story.

No doubt, there are excellent bloggers busy at work across the spectrum of political and cultural thought. Iíve been encouraged myself to begin blogging the stuff I write on this site.

But as a consumer of information Iíve been very discouraged by what I see in the comments posted on most blogs. While blogging provides a necessary platform for the circulation of vital sources of information and opinion, the thread of responses to many blogs, including the good ones, often brings out the worst in people and makes reading blogs a waste of time.

Racist and homophobic remarks and insults and pissing contests between reader-commentators dominate. There are worthwhile nuggets among the comments to be sure, but in general we have to use really fast-paced scrolling skills just to survive.

Too many commentators cowardly hide behind anonymity to exercise their pathological need to insult and even harm each other.

Blogs have taken on the character of some of the Town Hall meetings being held over President Obamaís health care proposal. Just like the Town Hall sessions, the self-righteous blowhards with the loudest voices tend to drown out respectful opinions and rational discussions that should characterize civil discourse on blogs and everywhere else.

© James Lull