A Community Shyft?
A post on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Wired Campus section highlighted a new trend in online feed reading. Author Hurley Goodall raised the question as to whether new web services such as Shyfter, Twitter, Slashdot, or FriendFeed would ultimately lead to the demise of individually created blogs.
In the words of Stowe Boyd,
conversation is moving from a very static and slow form of conversation — the comments thread on blog posts — to a more dynamic and fast form of conversation: into the flow in Twitter, Friendfeed, and others. I think this directionality may be like a law of the universe: conversation moves to where is is most social.
Where I would agree that for a certain segment of the online population, the “forum” format is a more immediate and comfortable way to communicate, but there is a bit of difference in an informational blog post and a conversational forum post. In truth I could easily see the channel working both ways as I may post forum conversations on my blog and my blog posts on a forum. The real key is keeping the pathways to the original author clear and easily traveled.
Some have brought forth the questions as to whether sites like Shyfter would ultimately disembody a bloggers creative work from their identity and, in doing so, further muddy the waters of online authorship. After reading forums for only a short time, any reasoned scholar will see that the hurried and often flippant forum posters will often look past the decency of citing their sources in order to be the “first” on the posting. (This practice also denies the larger portion of these posters from actually even looking up the fact they are stating and ultimately submitting false information.)
As much as I like the ability for communities to form and share information online, I would rather see more well thought blog posts on privately administered pages than read someone’s daily Twitter feed about the different ways their cat is sleeping on the window sill.
Posting on a forum isn’t authoring just the same as doodling on a bar napkin isn’t the same as painting plein- air. If these trends continue the old guard of “bloggers” will spend more time correcting others than creating their own views.
I was reminded of a quote I had just read from James Callaghan (who was quoting C.H. Spurgeon [or maybe it was Mark Twain]) when he said,
A lie can make it halfway around the world before the truth has got its boots on.1
Granted there are varied entries as to who coined this phrase, as some sources just left it to be an anonymous proverb. The most entertaining take was in Brewer’s Famous Quotations, where they speculated that this quotation was a victim of,
When in doubt, say that Mark Twain said it.2
Priceless. Or is that lol
- Macmillan Publishing Company. 1989. The Macmillan dictionary of quotations. New York: Macmillan. pp 342-343.
- Rees, Nigel. 2006. Brewer’s famous quotations. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p 119.