Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Social Network

Back in 1983, I wrote a throw-away line in an article about George Orwell's newspeak: "The danger from computers is not that they will eventually get as smart as men, but we will meanwhile agree to meet them halfway." Unprompted, this little warning has now migrated to thousands of websites; and the surge in the past year no doubt has something to do with the rise of Facebook, and the way the brain engages and disengages as the page entitled "News Feed" rolls past.

Nevertheless, I have started taking my Facebook page seriously (well, halfway seriously) in the hope that it can be of use in supporting this blog. I have had about 18,000 "unique visitors" to the blog over the past year; about 39,000 over the past two years. But the most frustrating thing about blogging is not really knowing whom one is reaching, with no possibility of gaining a stronger sense of what is on your minds. If you come here more or less regularly, why not "friend" me (even if you cannot befriend me), and encourage people you think would be interested in the blog to do the same? I promise I shall say nothing about how much I enjoyed last night's dessert.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Avishai,

As an avid reader of middle eastern blogs, I've dealt with this very issue recently. I communicated my true identity to one of my favorite bloggers (who appeared grateful to know a little something about one of his readers.)

Now, however, I feel very self-conscious about making any comments that are in disagreement with or critical of his articles. This is the downside of knowing the identity of your readers: they may not wish to share their real responses if they are no longer anonymous.

If you want to know what is on our minds, maybe there is some better way to do this than Facebook (where most folks are reluctant to share their political views in any real detail, anyway). My $.02. Will be interested in what others have to say about this.

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