Newsweek's technology columnist Steven Levy has declared that the lack of "diversity" among the web's most popular blogs requires corrective action. The goal? A blogosphere whose elite tier "reflects the actual population" — i.e., where female- and minority-written blogs are found among the top 100 blogs in the same proportion as females and minorities are found in the general population.
Keith Jenkins, a Washington Post photo editor, had warned during the conference, via e-mail, that the growth of blogging threatened minority gains in journalism. Whereas the mainstream media have gotten to "the point of inclusion," Jenkins wrote, the "overwhelmingly white and male American blogosphere [might] return us to a day where the dialogue about issues was a predominantly white-only one."
Levy's solution for women and minorities is a simple one: "'You have to post frequently . . . link prodigiously,' and, like one technology guru he describes, spend two hours daily writing your weblog and 'three more hours reading hundreds of other blogs.'"
First off, I'm going to admit that I don't spend that much time each day working on this blog. Sorry gang, but I don't. Of course, that could be because I'm a white male oppressior and therefore I don't have to work as hard to achieve such dominance.
But as MacDonald points out, there's a problem here:
How will the diversity-minded linker know the "identity" of a potential linkee? To be workable, a diversity-linkage program needs some sort of gatekeeper — precisely what the web has heretofore lacked. One can imagine something like a federal Digital Diversity Agency that would assign a diversity tattoo to each blog: a lavender pig, for example, signifying a white male blogger with an alternative sexual orientation. A mismatch between the diversity tattoo on a site and its content could trigger a federal audit to track down identity fraud. Let's say an allegedly black female site (tattooed with a black halo) canvassed technologies for sending humans to Mars. Regulators might find such content highly suspicious, since everyone knows that black females are supposed to write about black females.
Which brings us to Peter's question: Judie hasn't been posting too much lately; does this mean that I'm oppressing her somehow, preventing her from blogging in order to dominate the site myself? Do we need some kind of gatekeeper to make sure that our so-called "husband and wife" blog doesn't become too male-dominated? And shouldn't I be more careful about writing on issues that concern women?
For that matter, how do we even know that there is a Judie out there? For all anyone does know, I'm a lone wolf just pretending to have a wife who blogs. I could be committing some kind of identity fraud right before your eyes (or pixels, at any rate).
He jokes, of course, but you get the point of how ridiculous this is. Read the whole article for more. As Peter concludes, "It would be funny if it weren't so revealing."