If blogs are to be considered useful sources of feedback and comment, people need to stop treating them like public toilet walls. Speech may be free, but that doesn’t mean intelligent thought should fly out the window as well argues Grace Chua in Spiked. She was mildly chastising student bloggers in Singapore, who discovered that their right to free expression didn’t appear to extend to slagging off their teachers online…Chua adds:
Rather than clamping down on what gets written online, schools should be teaching students to give constructive, mature feedback, and to think critically about the public nature of the internet. But students are unlikely to learn how to be discerning if the rules about exactly what can and cannot be said are cut and dried.
All this fuss illustrates the downside of blogs. The biggest advantage of blogging is that anyone can do it. The biggest disadvantage of blogging is that anyone can do it. It’s all too easy to blog – all you need is internet access and a keyboard. Weblogs are a bit like graffiti in a public toilet: anonymous and of dubious provenance.
Student bloggers may make juvenile, off-the-cuff remarks online, but they are really only taking their lead from the adult blog culture that’s out there. For every quality blog providing thoughtful, critical analysis of the day’s issues – for every 2blowhards or Instapundit, for instance – there are 20 more personal blogs offering too much information about bloggers’ mundane daily lives.
Course, some blogs have standards. Just read the comments if you don’t believe me…