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Posted
26 April 2008 @ 3pm

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blogging

Bloggers are Filters (but not gatekeepers)

My friend Steven wrote a thoughtful post about handling large amounts of information and about how bloggers have become the news anchors (or ‘gatekeepers’) of the Internet

We become a gatekeeper; a word I really don’t like that much, the moment we get our first blog visitor or RSS subscriber. This happens because the reader or subscribe likes what he or she reads because it fits in with their own thoughts and feelings.

[…]

Where bloggers can be the most useful to their readers and / or social aggregator followers is by learning how to use all the social tools available to us and basically act as a filter. After all this is our social network and it only exists because our readers / followers find value in what we bring to them whether it be through our blogs or on a social aggregator. We in effect become their news hub. We might be one of many but at some point they have developed a sense of trust in the news we send their way.

Very true. The ideal of many who write about the net is that every user can become his/her own news filter, but, let’s face it – that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

The time and energy to read lots of different sources, curate those sources, and then filter those is something very few people are willing (and able) to commit to – and there is nothing wrong with that. Most everybody’s life doesn’t revolve around the Internet. Most people have lots of other things to do than become their own news organizations.

The great thing about the net is that we have suddenly gone from two or three news filters (local newspaper, TV, radio etc.) to a seemingly infinite amount of filters. We can pick and choose the filters we like (and hopefully avoid the echo-chamber effect!) – and, thanks to the recent crop of aggregators, our output as a community can be so much more useful and targeted than any newspaper of TV news show could ever be. That, maybe, is the best service we can provide to our readers.

However, our readers can get their information from a million different sources, so I don’t think we are gatekeepers the way the old TV news anchors were – we don’t (and can’t) prevent any information from getting out – at least not as individuals. Unless, of course, our readers start solely relying on us for their information – but that is hopefully never going to happen and would really be antithetical to what the net is all about.

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