Despite what those who profess to define and uphold the notion of community would like you to believe -- you know those smarmy "blogs are what will save the world" types -- there's sometimes a corrupting profit motive that seems only slightly beneath the surface, if you care to scratch.
That's what set me off in a recent Gillmor Gang that's been parodied on betterbadnews.com. On one hand you have these people cleaning up on the whole blog thing, based on highfalutin pronouncements about the sanctity of community, and new media collaboration, and ... lower taxes.
That's right, because on the other hand, after they hollow out the media and suck out the profits with their love of blogging -- what do they have for their larger community: A wish to hollow out the government so the rich can back-date their stock options while the rest watch their traditional jobs evaporate.
Scoble has weighed in (with good comments discussion), and Doc Searls gives a pointer. A pretty good Geek and Poke cartoon, too.
Actually, really, I feel sort of conflicted on these issues. While I absolutely admire and want to propel the independent and anti-establishment bent of the blogosphere, I think some bloggers think that they and their community can operate in a separate domain in the real world as they do in the virtual one. Of course we all are free to act on our own view of social responsibility, but ignoring or sidestepping the general good of the general population strikes me as a quite dangerous trend.
We need the smarties (and richies) to stay in the game, and to vote, and to remain citizens of the US as well as cybercitizens of the blogosphere. I wish we could insulate ourselves with wealth and entrepreneurism from the way our government and society operates, but only a very few can actually do that.
So I think we need to be both blogosphere mavericks and actively engaged citizens in the old fashioned body politic ... to vote as well as rank links -- to be active in both the real world and Web. This is really important, especially for the younger generations coming of age online.
Also, I'd rather have a somewhat wasteful but functional government that levels the playing field than just a pure and efficient -- yet highly socially stratifying -- social darwinism fueled by a cyber elite. The blogosphere doesn't necessarily lift all boats, not based on what we've seen so far.
Just one Gang member's view, apparently.