Monday, February 12, 2007

The Caring Problem

An unlikely, non-music related, thoughtful piece from Chris Dahlen at Pitchfork: Why does Web 2.0 seem to care more about Star Wars than about Africa? A highlight:

All in all, you can find more Star Wars fans and more sci-fi content on the internet than material on Africa. This is partly because sci-fi nerds in the Western world have better net access than most Africans. People also seem more drawn to the relative simplicity of pop culture than to the complexities of real life. Pop culture gives us a world we can understand, and problems we can solve. Or as Ethan Zuckerman told me, "If you're writing 'Buffy [the Vampire Slayer]' fan fic, you may not know the name of the third junior subvampire who showed up for one episode in season four. But someone does, and you can authoriatatively build the Buffy index on Wikipedia." By contrast, "We don't know authoriatatively who's in the Union of Islamic Courts. And we probably never will."

Another interesting point raised by the article: the more developed a national or linguistic blogosphere becomes, the harder it is to find "bridge bloggers" who can relate what's going on to the rest of the world. "When you start getting a larger blogosphere, it makes more sense to talk to your neighbors. And you can see this in Iran, where the Persian language blogosphere doesn't bridge all that much. There are a lot of debates that you just aren't turned into unless you read Persian."

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