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January 11th, 2008

A Brief Observation on Shock

I fell in love with the blogosphere a few years ago. Here was a place, an environment, where it seemed that people freely shared and exchanged opinions and ideas, and in many ways was like a free-for-all graduate school program – lots of passion, lots of idealism tempered by a healthy dose of reality, and a no-holds barred approach.

Sometimes the ideas expressed were outrageous, intentionally so, and that was ok, as long as no one got hurt. And to a certain degree, considering blogging and other online communication tools’ relative newness in comparison to older, more traditional communication outlets, the desire to shock and gain attention was not unexpected.

But when it’s shock value without a positive purpose it becomes both just plain boring and potentially detrimental to everyone else who inevitably gets lumped in with the perpetrators.

Why am I writing about this? Well, it’s something I think about quite a bit – where should the line be drawn, and by whom, and does that line change over time and depending on the circumstances? There is also that little incident that happened at CES this week that many people are talking about and that brought the whole topic of “online shock” back into the forefront.

This isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last, that an individual blogger or a site will do something that many feel pushes the envelope. I see it on a regular basis and most of the time just shrug my shoulders and move on.

But I’m also looking forward to the day when, in response to saying I’m a blogger, I no longer hear even the occasional “you’re one of those?”

Filed in Blogging, Social Media

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