THE BLOG
08/31/2010 04:20 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

What Is Your Opinion ... And Why Do We Care?

Someone said to me in a meeting yesterday that there are a billion blogs. The number seemed high, so I did what we all do these days. I went to Google and in about 30 seconds of looking at "How many blogs are there," I was assured there are closer to 100 million, with about 175 thousand new ones being created every day. So while the billion estimate was a bit exaggerated, it is obvious that there are a LOT of blogs.

This got me thinking: why so many? A blog is basically a point of view--an opinion on something that interests us. So now we have 100 million folks sharing their opinions in cyberspace, some hoping to catch a moment of fame, some intending to create an army of readers who hang on our every word. I have been blogging now for a few years and have no idea how many people get value from what I write. Yet I keep writing.

The obvious conclusion is that most of us aren't writing for others, but for ourselves. We find some satisfaction and a kind of 'meditation' in recording our periodic musings. There are, no doubt, hundreds of billions of individual blog postings. This fact will probably give historians nightmares in the future: with so much information, it will be all but impossible to draw any general conclusions other than that everyone has something to say (whether anyone is listening or not).

They may wonder was this some sort of ritual for achieving immortality? Was this an obsession with the written word? Was this the beginning of the commoditization of ideas? Was this when centuries of discernment and rigorous thinking were reduced to everyman is intellectually equal and Marshall McLuhan's prophecy that the "The medium is the message" was fulfilled? Was this when the ideas of "might makes right" and "winners write history" were taken over by power being a function of search engine rankings and readership?

For my own part in this madness, it may be as simple as wanting in some small way to make a difference. To say what I see and offer this as my 'stake' in the world that is unfolding.

Obviously, no one knows what is happening to us and to our world. In fact, everyone's view is equally valid, even if not necessarily well reasoned or grounded. All we have is our points of view. Thank goodness our views are not all the same. Diversity of viewpoints may be our salvation in a world in which we can no longer trust the past to guide us, our predictions have become guesses and knowledge is increasingly suspect (if not obsolete) as a basis for decision-making and planning.

At the end of the day, our blogs are our self-expression--our soapbox. Some have successfully turned their pontifications into a business, just as journalists and critics have been doing for centuries. Others find their satisfaction in making comments on what others have to say. Perhaps blogging is just a way for expanding the conversations we've been having forever at the dinner table or in the coffee shop. Maybe ordinary conversation is all we've ever had or ever will have. Maybe blogging is just the latest way for connecting and conversing about life and what we're learning.

I don't know. Maybe it would make an interesting blog.


© 2010 Jim Selman. All rights reserved.

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