In the Interest of Collaboration

or, "Why Don't I Post To ¡Eia! Very Much? Because you have enough to read already?

I'd like to poke a hole in the idea that the Internet, screaming hellhole of infinite size that it is, lowers the cultural bar. Time was when Instapundit and Atrios were the most popular pundits around and paying for MovableType seemed worth it (they're open source now?), and I was in high school, and my best friend and I could, indeed, rant unreservedly about politics and get page views. But at this point, with the relentless expertise of all the self-appointed experts Out There (call it Peer2Peer Review, if you will), I'd say there's really much more incentive to reserve comment unless one's absolutely sure of oneself (which should be only on rare occasion).

I like the fact that, if you're reading this, I probably know you personally, in the meat-world (that's the part of reality formerly known as "Reality"). You found this post via Twitter or Facebook, and you clicked it because my reputation, for good or for ill, precedes the me you're reading right now. I wouldn't want to tarnish that reputation by flying off the handle or, even worse, by boring you. I'd only ask you to read something if I thought it would matter to you and, more importantly, if it would prompt you to respond. I'd say that this pressure is only intensified by subjection to a broader audience, who would feel even less compunction about lobbing the Rotten Tomatoes Of Opinion.

If you're using social media in the right way, you've got a great feed of information from sources you have hand-picked, because you trust them to enrich your daily thoughts. That is, you're using them for reading, not for ranting or tweeting the input/output of your digestive system. When something in the feed inspires you, you may rate it, you may share it, you may even comment, and, if you are sufficiently moved, you may respond. Personally, I find that people are saying what I feel like saying better than I can say it on a daily basis. Why clog your mind by restating it, when I can just share the link?

So why am I clogging you right now, with all this meta-talk, you might ask? That is a good question, a fair question, and there is an answer: in the interest of collaboration. That's how this internet thingy works, isn't it? We pull together enough disparate and interesting streams of information and it suddenly becomes its own Thing, with its own Meaning and Purpose. Its own Culture?

My words are starting to ring in my ears, echoing off the cavernous walls of self-evidence, so I'll tie this thing off with a question: Why did you read this?

Be honest.