Its all about trust

Its all about trust January 8, 2005

People fail to realize these days that trust=cash. We have all been caught out- apparently a tsunami picture I posted on here was a fake I was taken in. Oddly enough I was taken in precisely because the genuine pictures and footage I have seen has not really given me a sense of the event itself for the people involved. I guess that people in real danger are unlikely to use their cameras. This is one disaster where it has been the words, the stories that have done it for me rather than the pictures. Words like the description of a two year old boy still lost in a Thai hospital with doctors not knowing who he is. Wait that was a fake too wasn’t it? Or was it ?Urban Legends reckons the story of Dr. Anuroj Tharasiriroj of Phuket International Hospital searching for the boys parents was true but there was a reunion on 28th December 2004.

Deciding whether an email you receive is true or false can be hard. My battle with the BBC (which is far from being just my battle incidently) began when I got an email which I assumed was just another scam. This time though the truth is stranger than fiction. If I told you that there was a show being aired on TV tomorrow all about Muhammed and Allah having a swearing match and other blasphemy against Islam you wouldn’t believe it could be true. Why is it then that whilst no one would dream of producing such a show the BBC are insisting on broadcasting one that does the same to God and Jesus.

Reading Hugh Hewitts book Blog this evening I couldn’t help but wonder if the BBC aren’t ripe for what Hugh calls a blog swarm. All the quotes in the rest of this email come from the book-

Swarming is a seemingly amorphous structured, coordinated way to strike horn all directions at a particular point or points, by means of a sustainable “pulsing” of force.

Interestingly Blogs are actually creating new structures such as the blogdom of God and other affiliations and groupings. Whilst such structures are far looser than many found in the offline world they are remarkably robust and stronger than you might credit. A message can spread round these networks at breakneck speed with considerable degree of redundancy on route. Thus if enough people blog about the BBC and decide to do something about it, throw in a bit of media interest and suddenly you could have the situation that Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi found himself in- he was blogged.

A few words that the senator said which were not taken up as controversial by the media the next day grew over a matter of days into a storm that led to his resignation as bloggers of all political stripes began to call for Lott’s resignation. Hewitt argues that for the blogosphere, the most important part of the Trent Lott affair was being noticed and credited by the mainstream media

Blogs played a major role in that affair by running and discussing the matter for a long enough time for people to realize that this was a much bigger story than people had understood?

But the story that few seem to understand is the true story of the rise of the blog. There are now over four million of us, although it still feels very homely. The blogs recreate the jungle newswire or the suburban conversation over a fence.Gossip, news, and most of all opinion can be spread and modified by a network that circles the globe.I cant force anyone to blog about something I write- which is a natural check on the system.But I can be fairly sure that there is a group of people who I will quickly seek out and who will start to link to me that understand me and who will be likely to agree with much I say.

The fact that blogging is carried out in the open means that there is less opportunity for criminal activity to be got away with. There is no private conversation on a blog. This hopefully moderates what we say to each other somewhat. Blog wars seem few and far between these days- even my assault on the emergent church seems to have been taken by them in the spirit of goodwill that it was intended.

But according to Hugh something fundamental is occurring

What really going on is an information reformation similar in consequence to the Reformation that split Christianity in the sixteenth century. The key to that Reformation was the wide dissemination Scripture among an increasingly literate laity. Today the old guard of old media is in a situation very similar to the Roman Catholic Church’s situation when Luther arose to challenge the pope’s authority Luther.made the collapse of the Church’s authority inevitable, though the struggle was long and often bloody, if people like Kerry, Raines, Rather, and Lott can be humbled by the blogosphere, so, too, can you, your company, your movie, your church, your anything.

The old media know they are in trouble. Perhaps they should take heart though that the catholic church never went away.What changed was its authority. There is a generation of skeptics who no longer fall for the junk email that conned them so readily when they first went online. Who take pride in finding out the truth about something and who refuse to believe someone just because they are told to.

Blogging is just made for that generation. Despite the amazing growth there remans incredible opportunity among hundreds of millions who have yet to figure out that there is a better way to gain information than watching the tube: quicker, more specific, more emotionally satisfying. The blogosphere is about trust. CNN lost the trust it once had and its fall has been sudden and shattering. FOX News is trusted by so its numbers have shot up, much to the dismay of lefties don’t understand why viewers would trust FOX News. If you can get this point, you’ll get the blogosphere. None of us have time to understand everything so we haye to trust surrogates. Americans want more than they are getting from television, information from sources that they trust, not the same-old same-old.. life is a habit, Hughie. Life is a habit.” Berry . millions of people are changing their habits when it comes to information acquisition. This has happened many times before: with the appearance of the Printing press, then the telegraph, the telephone, radio, television, internet. Now, however, the blogosphere has appeared, and it has come SO suddenly as to surprise even the most sophisticated of analysts

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Hugh points out that the consensus among the media and the Bloggers was that a healthy alliance between the two could effect major institutional change. The reason for this is that while bloggers could keep a story alive and even dig a little deeper, the media the resources and the big megaphones ecessary to make a story truly happen.

I suspect that the media was surprised to realize that the blogosphere can operate as an accountability mechanism for the media. Although it was dismissed initially as people in pyjamas with no editors to check up on them, one of the surprises of blogging is that it is accountable in ways that old journalism never has been. Precisely because there is both positive and negative feedback in the system bloggers cant get away with things that people in the media can. And oddly for our post-modern world and for a medium that is thought to be tearing down the foundations of respectable society, truth matters to bloggers. Truth and trust. People keep coming back to blogs that they believe are telling the truth and that they feel they can trust.

So I apologize for posting a fake photo, even though I did it in good faith. Sometimes although fiction can be more compelling than the truth it is still important to report the truth.



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