“The dangers of the blogosphere dialogue,” by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 22 May 2006, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/003280.html.
Mark Safranski of ZenPundit found this over at Tom’s blog. I’m stunned.
Yes, there is some of that in the blogosphere, and I benefit from it more than most in the efforts of people like Mark Safranski and Dan tdaxp. But Dan’s a good point to explore, because I found my dynamic with him to be very familiar, meaning one I’ve participated in from both sides countless times in my career, and a description would be instructive I think.
Here’s the generic description: One guy wants to engage another guy he looks up to. To get his attention, he makes a startling, cheeky criticism. They go back and forth, and it gets testy. Then the “elder” guy says something nice about the “younger” guy and the younger guy is thrilled. The ice is broken, and then the conversation really begins.
Ask yourself, how many times you’ve been through this dynamic with people, both where you’re the younger or you’re the older. You make a small connection, and all of a sudden the walls come down. The younger person feels acceptance, the older person feels less threatened, and dialogue takes off.
That is essentially what happened with Dan and me, but frankly, that’s also what’s happened with me and a host of “elders,” to include people like Tom Friedman, whom obviously I admire and model myself after and at whom I’ve occasionally take inappropriate pot shots (like my review of “World is Flat”) because–damn it!–I’d like him to notice me and take me more seriously. Well, Friedman sent me a couple of emails a while back, breaking the ice, and I naturally settled down. Yes, there was a Sally Field-like moment there for a minute, but that passed too.
Same thing happened with me and Dan. It’s just human nature.
My point is this: that essential transaction is hard to do in the asynchronous, one-upmanship world of the blogosphere, where the faceless crowd is constantly egging you on with “fight! fight! fight!”
Wow. This is something else.
- My work’s beneficial to Tom. Neat!
- He compared me to himself, in the context of interacting with great thinkers. Neat!
- I managed to do (1) and (2) in the blogosphere, which can be a hostile environment for that sort of interaction.
What else to say? Neat!