Blogs as a digestive tract

Nick Carr is rapidly becoming one of my favorite bloggers.   Not so much because I agree with his points, but because his style is sharp and brilliant and because he recognizes that many of the elitist current distinctions in the writing community are, in a word, nonsense.

This Gaurdian article contains the very clever notion that blogging’s virtue is what others have called a blogging vice – the tendency to regurgitate articles and news gleaned from major outlets, adding personal notes or spin in the process.      Carr notes that this is a *good* thing as it processes information in ways he likens to a digestive tract.    Unflattering as it may seem to the times when bloggers are actually out in the world researching elusive and exclusive topics and writing about them,  much of blogging is just this sort of “reprocessing” of information as it flows through our vast networked media extravaganza.    Re-examination can be as helpful as examination, and I can’t help but think that blogging is making the pie much bigger in the sense that more people are paying more attention to more information.    As long as we brew more coffee to keep everybody awake to read all this, it will all work just fine.

4 thoughts on “Blogs as a digestive tract

  1. I just started blogging. That’s an interesting thought–something to keep in mind while shopping for topics. What kind of media enzyme do I want to be? Thanks!


  2. Pingback: Just a Babe in the Woods « Shoulda Woulda Coulda

  3. “….the tendency to regurgitate articles and news gleaned from major outlets, adding personal notes or spin in the process. Carr notes that this is a *good* thing as it processes information in ways he likens to a digestive tract….”

    I would agree, tentatively, that the “regurgitation process” may facilitate—as schoolmarmies say–the flow of information and news, as long as blogger X adds some commentary or criticism to the original writing, credits the source, adds a good link, etc. On the bigger blogs sources are usually credited, but many out in the wasteland of Blogspot simply spam writing in without adding the requisite info; in effect, regurgitation then starts to resemble a type of plagiarism. That’s probably not that big of an issue in informal contexts, but it could be an issue with certain sorts of writing (research writing, or copyrighted material, “creative writing”).

    The info-regurgitators (“my name is Horatiox and I am an info-regurgitator”) can also provide a worthy service by fact-checking writers (or scholars), and may call into question disputed points or evidence. That may be more effectively done on blogs than with traditional journalism: that is, assuming the J-Edgar.coms (whether GOPer or Dem) don’t succeed in shutting down dissent and free inquiry. At the same time, reasoned dissent by Joey Turnipseed in Omaha, however eloquent, doesn’t have nearly the power of any celeb-scribbler du jour featured by the Huffington Post (one of blogland’s most tightly moderated sites). If the big blogs like HuffPo and Daily KOS are any indication, blogs will probably become the online equivalent to gated communities. Slate too has steadily become more moderated over the last few years: the Fray was once quite a wild and entertaining place, and the regurgitators often engaged directly with the Slate writers. That interaction seems to have been toned down considerably.

  4. Joey Turnipseed in Omaha
    You found my father!?

    I think your point about “gated communities” is important. For me the power of blogging is the interaction. I’m OK if my comments are relegated to lesser status than the post, but I don’t want them moderated or deleted because they don’t jive with the blogger’s world view.

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