Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Age of Google, The Age of Snark (PDS)

Historians may some day look back on the present age as The Age of Google. I would contend that this too is The Age of Snark. For the blogosphere, these are the best of times and these are the worst of times.

Not so many months ago, I would routinely view at least 15-20 blogs on a daily basis. I now find myself looking at about 3 or 4 per day, if that. Some of the cause of this is surely blog burnout, some of this is that the election is now well past us, and some of it is simply information overload. But I think the main reason relates to the "snark factor."

The snark factor is a function of the success of Google. Everybody, it seems, is one Google click away from superficial knowledge about any topic under sun. At the present moment, for instance, I know nothing about hedge funds. Give me five minutes, however, and access to Google, and I can pass myself off as far more knowledgable on this topic than just about everyone else. Throw in some well placed snark, and the combination is a witty "take" on the subject of hedge funds. This process requires roughly the same amount of mental exertion as watching a Saturday Night Live skit, or, perhaps more pertinent to the present thesis, a Jon Stewart skit.

I am aware of a few bloggers that are willing to drill down and avoid the temptation to snark, but not many. A great example of this is Pursuit's posts on Social Security last week. Wretchard of The Belmont Club uniformly resists this temptation as well. If you know of any qualifiers, drop them in the comments section below.

If I were King of the Blogosphere for a day, I would prohibit googling and snarking, just for that day. Then, as the Dickens might say, we just might have more of an "age of wisdom, and less of an age of foolishness."

No comments:

Post a Comment