asher63 (asher63) wrote,

Restrospective: 15+ years.

My first entries on LJ are from April 2004. In those days, blogs (short for weblogs) were a thing. I do not think that the later trend toward short-form social media such as facebook and twitter has been an improvement.

What I liked, and still like, about LJ is that it combines the interactive format of social media with the expansibility of long-form blogging.

One of the questions that interested me in 2004 was, "Why do we believe what we believe?"
Why do we believe what we believe? How do we decide what is true, and what is important? Consider the role of the following factors, and feel free to add others:
· internal consistency (details of the narrative agree with each other)
· external consistency (details of the narrative agree with information previously verified)
· insider details (information available only to an authentic source)
· dialog and dissent (narrative welcomes questions and challenges; fosters better understanding among divergent opinions)
· awareness of objections (narrative recognizes legitimate counter-arguments and seeks to refute them)
· nuance (recognition that a proposition may hold true in general and still admit of exceptions)
· the human voice (an intangible quality that may include a distinctive personality, awareness of ambivalence, self-analysis and self-criticism)

That question still interests me today, and I think it's as relevant as ever with the continuing rise of the internet and social media.

It was already clear then that the internet was going to threaten the legacy media, although broadcast TV hung on until the 20-teens. What I wrote then was:
The centrally-managed and -edited traditional media (including radio, TV, print periodicals, and books) have nothing to fear from the internet ... provided they do not contribute to their own irrelevance by ignoring it.

The internet is anarchical, and therefore makes great demands on the individual user in terms of critical thinking skills. How do we know to trust a site? We compare information from multiple sources, listen to different analyses, learn to weed out irrelevant input and compare the picture with what we know from our own previous experience.

With the traditional media, this is all delegated to the editor, publisher, producer, or university. Often we have to do this, because the material is specialized or technical in nature, or because individual contributors don't have the credibility to reliably provide the information we need.

But centralized media can serve their own agendas at the expense of accuracy. That's where the supremely democratic world of blogging comes in.

Traditional media still play a valuable role. But they risk abdicating this role if they fail to recognize the democratizing effects of electronic communications.

Since then, the legacy media (in terms of technology) have faded into irrelevance, but the ideological stranglehold of the new media oligopoly of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and the like - what Breitbart has called the "Masters of the Universe" - has strengthened.

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