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The Dark Side Of Blogs

Written By: Jim Edwards

America Online (AOL) announced recently they will pay as much as 25 million dollars for Weblogs, Inc. (www.weblogsinc.com) in a move to expand their reach even further into the consumer market.

Blogs, also know as weblogs, enable individuals to post, comment, and respond to various topics online without publishing a website. All text editing and commenting takes place right through the web browser.

The Web’s leading blog search engine, Technorati.com, lists 19.2 million blogs online.

Blog popularity has skyrocketed to the point that even news networks like CNN and MSNBC quote blogs, in particular political blogs, often giving some blog publishers instant rock star status with the media.

With all the hoopla around blogs, people forget that blogs, by their very nature, represent opinions, and opinions don’t necessarily represent the facts.

~ Information Pollution Syndrome ~

Blogs use a powerful form of psychology know as “social proof” where we look to others to help us understand how we should view, feel, or react to news and information.

Since the glut of information only gets more massive online with each passing day and rates impossible for one person to get through completely on their own, we look to others to help us sort the piles of data.

When you combine this with another online phenomenon, virtual anonymity, you get a volatile combination where any social responsibility for what gets posted flies out the window in many cases.

People can and do post whatever they want because no “hall monitor” can call them down for blatant intellectual hooliganism.

~ Facts Colored With Opinion ~

Strong opinion often equals an agenda, however hard to discern for either the author or the reader.

But make no mistake, every person publishing a blog with any level of readership (not junk blogs used for search engine promotion) takes a stance on the issues, whether political, social, religious or business.

Even if they strive to be impartial and only report the “news,” blog publishers are human beings who want you to think they’re smart, agree with them, and accept their point of view, even if they don’t realize it consciously.

Less scrupulous blog publishers often exploit the social and psychological power of blogs to spread disinformation (intentionally wrong information) to further their agenda. This tactic rates quite popular on political blogs and has started creeping into business blogs too.

~ Protect Yourself ~

Whenever you read anything online, use the following evaluation criteria to help separate fact from opinion.

What is my purpose in searching for information on this subject?

Is this a credible source of information?

What ulterior motive, conscious or otherwise, do they have in publishing this information?

What alternative sources of information can I find to confirm / dispute the information on this blog?

Don’t rely heavily on the opinions of others to make your decisions, especially the opinions of nameless, faceless bloggers with a self-serving agenda who operate with a veil of anonymity and a no sense of social responsibility.

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About the Author

Jim Edwards is a syndicated newspaper columnist and the creator of an amazing course that will teach you step-by- step and click-by-click how to finally create your own money making Mini Sites

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