Tuesday, February 05, 2008
why this blog shouldn't be taken very seriously
For all but a few, we are consumers of economic forecasts. We have no independent ability to make projections, so our role is instead one of deciding who knows, and who does not. At "A Dash" we believe that the democratization of the media -- emphasizing the Internet -- has made the task of the consumer more difficult. Appearing on television or having a big-time blog confers a sense of legitimacy that may be completely unfounded.
Most people do not realize this. In particular, individual investors do not make this distinction.
i couldn't agree more. some time ago i discussed the same point with respect to some rather utopian libertarian views on web 2.0 here and here.
in the end, greater freedom to choose is likely to mean greater freedom to choose what you wish to hear, reinforcing previous conceptions and delusions, rather than comparison shopping for quality of information. ...
and i would note similarly that matt welch makes an associated error (imo): that the proliferation of media outlets constitutes a proliferation of real information consumption.
this is all akin to saying that the proliferation of christian cults in the 20th century means that christian doctrine is better understood by more informed christians. clearly, imo, not so: there has been instead a proliferation of confusion, opinion masquerading as fact and outright disinformation such that no one knows anything -- even when they are certain they know something -- because truth and near-truth cannot be separated from rumor and falsehood. error and rumor are easily propogated convincingly on the internet. most people (being only animals) cannot critically evaluate what they're consuming; awash in data of varying quality, they assemble their own 'reality' to suit their inclination. the overwhelming tide of choice thus yields a haze of primitive mysticism similar to what the late romans fielded.
i think we are seeing in the blogosphere the beginnings of a paradox in which the death of informational gatekeepers -- ostensibly laudable to a individualist society -- reveals the animal character of the human being far more than the rational. we're likely to learn, imo, that institutional information was, though imperfect and even sometimes disastrous, at least usually trustworthy and ultimately preferable to the mystical fog of uncontrolled information.