October 3, 2004

"The chronic vice of blogs."

The NYT Book Review takes literary websites--the kind without a print counterpart--seriously. Actual links provided. This jumped out at me: "the chronic vice of the blogs -- has she mentioned her fellow bloggers? And how clever they are? And how much she really, really likes them?"

Hmmm.... Well, I'm just sitting here in my dining room trying to make my way through the Sunday Times. For some reason, I'm starting with the Book Review, which I usually toss onto the far corner of the table and mean to read last. The truth is, last week's Book Review is still on the table, unread. So I can't explain my choice of entry point this morning. But I'm thinking, is that the chronic vice of "the blogs"? Surely, there must be other chronic vices capable of challenging that vice's entitlement to the honor of "the chronic vice." Maybe there should be The Seven Chronic Vices of the Blogs. If enough people email me with good candidates for Blog Vices, I'll add a list here later.

UPDATE: I see a complexity in the analysis of blog vices. There are the secret vices and the vices on display to the reader, like the fawning over other bloggers that annoyed the NYT. An emailer suggests two related vices, which are secret vices:
•constantly checking to see who visited your blog via NedStat, Sitemeter, etc. AND whether they are linking to you.

•feverishly tracking/commenting on how well "connected" your blog is through services such as the Blog Ecosystem and Technorati.

Perhaps in these private vices we see the root of the public vice observed by the Times.

A SECOND UPDATE: Another emailer offers two more vices:
•Sneering. A really juvenile, off-putting form of discourse. The blogosphere is slathered with it.

•Opinion incest -- only reading or linking to those who agree with you (or to the "other side" only for purposes of sneering). Has the effect of digging everyone deeper into their ideological ruts/trenches.

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