Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Blogosphere: Are You "Neterite"?

Today I read “The Blogs in Society”, which is chapter 2 of the book Blogging America by Aaron Barlow that was published in 2008. In this chapter, Barlow discusses the issue of blogs and societies. Due to the large number of blogs that have been created and continue to be created, the credibility of these blogs is becoming harder and harder to judge. There are absolutely blogs that create total nonsense, but there are also blogs that contribute to society; real or virtual. Determining whether blogs help, hinder, or do nothing for society is in the eye of the beholder, which according to Barlow (2008), depends largely on the level of “neteracy” that person has.

Barlow describes “neteracy” as how literate a person is on the issue of electronic communication, in particularly blogging. Someone who is not “neterite” may find it hard to navigate through blogs for information that is relevant and credible, a task that can be completed by someone who is “neterite” very quickly. I completely agree with what Barlow says here about “neteracy” because it is often discouraging for people that are not “neterite” to use the internet in general, let alone have to find what they are looking for and determine if it is nonsense or helpful. The large number of blogs and the large number of people that are not “neterite” has also contributed to the many misconceptions of the blogging community.

One of these misconceptions that Barlow points out is that of community. Does the creation of blogs help, hinder or do nothing for the blogging community? Many people that are not “neterite” may argue that the creation of more and more blogs is diluting the helpful and useful information out there, but this is not necessarily the case. According to Barlow (2008), although it may seem like there is a large number of blogs being created that hinder the blogging community, it is actually, more times than not, being strengthened. I that this point that Barlow makes is also very true. The fact is if you are not “neterite”, and have a hard time sifting through the good and the nonsense, you are going to come to the conclusion that it is all nonsense, but this is not the case. The blogging technology definitely strengthens communities. You have people writing and reading on specific views of certain topics, which they can then comment on. The ability to be able to find other people that have similar views and share your views with them actually encourages growth for that community.

There are so many other things Barlow talked about in this chapter that I would love to go into, but it can be summed up saying that the internet and the blogosphere are growing every day. Blogs may be created on just about anything from political topics to how you spent your day in the park, and this has led to many people to question blogging. What it is and where is it going? These are questions that do not have one right answer, but many different opinions. In my opinion, it is a place where people can share their thoughts on anything they want that can be read by anyone who is interested. If an individual is “neterite” enough it can be a place to create ties and strengthen communities.

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