Thursday, February 21, 2013

Vanity of Vanities, Saith the Preacher

Angus Croll:

Writing online is so nearly effortless that reading (not to mention reflection, deliberation and thought) has become a chore in comparison. It's easier to jot off a patronizing, indignant or self-aggrandizing missive than it is to take the trouble to read the whole article or give fair consideration to the author's perspective. Thus the vicious circle sets in…

Why go to the trouble of producing a balanced or inquiring article for a medium that encourages rapid-fire feedback over deliberation and reflection? And why, in turn, respond to that article with any semblance of balance in a medium that rewards bite-sized bluster over nuance and accuracy? And why, for that matter, bother reading the article at all, when speed is everything, and you'd better get your soundbite in now because they'll be new outrages to decry tomorrow? Anyone who wanted to learn something about Aaron Swartz before writing about him, to reflect and deliberate on his suicide before offering an opinion was too late, because by then the internet had lost interest and moved on to a hotter topic (horse-meat burgers, or the Harlem Shake, for instance).

"Doctor, it hurts when I do this!" "Well, don't do that." Yeah, pretty much. Don't waste your time trying to be in the conversation but not of it. Be the change you want to see on the Internet! Write about things that matter for however few people want to quietly appreciate it, and let that be good enough.