Here's a "different" view of blogging, expressed recently by a publishing industry analyst: "We are losing valuable dialogue, debate and fresh perspectives in this world of shrinking personal horizons, where the new technologies facilitate tunneling deeper and narrower. Professional, and personal discourse is the weaker for it and we all suffer the loss of challenges to our internal biases, and spark and stimulation from voices far outside our normal communications and chatter."
So, according to this view, blogging enables one to dig a safe little hole and stick in it with a few other like-minded types, reinforcing each other's prejudices and disincentivising one from seeking fresh stimuli. And, as the writer is lamenting, making it hard for the salesperson to break in.
..."bloggers routinely refer to others with first names only, a snobbish practice signaling how "in" they are. Blogrolls, useful to some degree, are double-edged, in that bloggers cluster into groups that link to each other. The same speakers appear again and again on panels, setting up cliques as narrow as any country club set."
Well, it's a view. Although I've found blogging to be a mind-expanding activity, so are lots of other things. And it is true that the interactions one has while blogging are tightly controlled. On the other hand, it adds an enormous efficiency to finding topics of interest, and to being able to interact at all (for me in my situation when I started blogging, the alternative was usually "no interaction"). The writer is looking at the issues from the perspective of publishing challenges: how a publisher can break into these "tight little communities" and get their members to branch out into new, networky-style products. But this is just another way of saying that everyone is too busy doing what they are doing and struggling with the information overload, to be as interested as they might be in trying new things (more power to those silver surfers!).