Thursday, July 26, 2007

Can blogging bring about long term change?

Robin Hanson writes:

The joy of blogging for me is taking just an hour to pen and distribute an apparently powerful insight.  But this joy is illusory if my insights never join a process of accumulation where others build on my insights and integrate them effectively into a larger body of thought.  If I'm mainly the equivalent of a newspaper columnist, rather than a part of a community of modular thinkers, this is to me a waste. 

Overcoming Bias: Blogging Doubts

Blogging can be a part of the "process of accumulation" in several ways:

  1. Bloggers document history in making which can be invaluable for researchers who later try to make sense of an happening or a period of time. Please see: They help the most, who collaborate about the 2004 Tsunami.
  2. Insights from blogosphere, at least in some areas, coalesce into an accepted body of wisdom fairly quickly. For example, the debate about desirability of DRM. Such debates could influence outcomes.
  3. Debates about emotional topics, like existence of God or abortion rights, would likely make people veer to rational viewpoints, as progressively younger population see viewpoints otherwise disapproved by their religion or family.
  4. More nuanced understanding of phenomena like terrorism, that affect large populations whose opinions drive the way their governments or other institutions act.

Together with easily accessible and constantly evolving wiki content or social booking marking, it could well be the most powerful process of accumulation ever seen in the history of mankind.


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