Profound observation of the day…and then some…

So many system studies and IT projects never seem to lead anywhere. Enterprise projects are bloody difficult to execute well. I am beginning to understand why.

Oh btw, now there’s an anti Web 2.0 article making the rounds. This one by Nicholas Carr. The same dude who wrote a very controversial article “IT doesn’t matter” in HBR sometime ago. Seems like he has made it his business to be a contrarian. Makes some good points nevertheless. Full article here. The snapshot follows.

The promoters of Web 2.0 venerate the amateur and distrust the professional. We see it in their unalloyed praise of Wikipedia, and we see it in their worship of open-source software and myriad other examples of democratic creativity. Perhaps nowhere, though, is their love of amateurism so apparent as in their promotion of blogging as an alternative to what they call “the mainstream media.” Here’s O’Reilly: “While mainstream media may see individual blogs as competitors, what is really unnerving is that the competition is with the blogosphere as a whole. This is not just a competition between sites, but a competition between business models. The world of Web 2.0 is also the world of what Dan Gillmor calls ‘we, the media,’ a world in which ‘the former audience,’ not a few people in a back room, decides what’s important.”

I’m all for blogs and blogging. (I’m writing this, ain’t I?) But I’m not blind to the limitations and the flaws of the blogosphere – its superficiality, its emphasis on opinion over reporting, its echolalia, its tendency to reinforce rather than challenge ideological extremism and segregation. Now, all the same criticisms can (and should) be hurled at segments of the mainstream media. And yet, at its best, the mainstream media is able to do things that are different from – and, yes, more important than – what bloggers can do. Those despised “people in a back room” can fund in-depth reporting and research. They can underwrite projects that can take months or years to reach fruition – or that may fail altogether. They can hire and pay talented people who would not be able to survive as sole proprietors on the Internet. They can employ editors and proofreaders and other unsung protectors of quality work. They can place, with equal weight, opposing ideologies on the same page. Forced to choose between reading blogs and subscribing to, say, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Atlantic, and the Economist, I will choose the latter. I will take the professionals over the amateurs.

Emphasis in bold mine. It’s something I have written about earlier. And I think it is pretty much true. Blogdom is so full of cliques of all kinds. The thing I am not certain about is the extent of influence blogs exert. I, for instance, read a bunch of libertarian/zealot captialist stuff. I don’t empathize much with people who think that way, but I am not sure I am not being influenced. I still don’t agree, but sometimes influence is more underhanded than ensuring agreemeent.

Anyway, time to get back to work. No, wait, lunch first.

Posted on October 19, 2005, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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