Seeing John Gruber's reaction to Jason Kottke's "fascinating interview" was a stark reminder about the dangers of confirmation bias.

We unconsciously approach situations with our preconceived notions and expectations, highlight the bits we need to back up our position and reject the rest.

We don't necessarily mean to, it's just the way the mind works and how we have ended up with such severe filter bubbles on the likes of Facebook.

Have I read that interview and had my reaction coloured by my current feelings about blogging and social? Has John had his response set by other factors that prompted him to quote the paragraphs he did?

Jason makes some valid points that I have chosen not to mention just as John chooses to highlight a specific section which doesn't reflect my concerns.

Who is right? Both of us? How is that possible?

What is right? Is there one "right" or is there only a "right for me" for each of us?

Right and true are formed by consensus - some will align with me, others with John, but when true consensus cannot be achieved we are left with opinion.

That's fine, we seek opinions to educate ourselves and to gain affirmation of our own, but when we blindly reject those that don't provide that affirmation we tread a slippery slope.

  1. dgold says: #
    @colinwalker I know it may be confirmation bias but… I find it difficult to take seriously someone whose site ‘features’ 11pt type as a badge of honour.
  2. adders says: #
    @colinwalker It’s interesting – I suspect what both @gruber and Kottke are mourning is less blogging per se and more the passing of an era and a generation of bloggers. The real buzz and creativity of blogging has, for some years, been more in the fashion/lifestyle/home etc space, not tech and link blogging. And yes, there’s some appalling crap there – but there’s also some really excellent sites that look and feel very different from early 2000s blogging.
  3. colinwalker says: #
    @adders Maybe so but what frustrates me is almost the acceptance without being willing to do anything about it. There is an appetite for the open web again so why not jump on that and rekindle what has been dying.
  4. amit says: #
    @colinwalker I guess both these perspectives sound to be inward looking, “how blogging has not been the same for me with people I respect leaving and everyone else not posting the way I do.”

    Should they look outward and accept what’s new? Of course.

    Can they still fret over what has passed? I think, definitely.

  5. canion says: #
    @colinwalker It’s a bit like the headline act paying no regard for the support band. But the support band can be very good in their own right and no doubt have their own hardcore followers. These “A-list” bloggers need to move outside their bubble.
  6. Ron says: #
    @canion Yes, when these “movers & shakers” say blogging is dead, I think they’re afraid they might not be able to do it for a living much longer. Well, tons of folks still have something to say & don’t need to make a living with their words. The Kottge way of blogging might be dying, but not ours.
  7. oyam says: #
    Well said @Ron, this was my takeaway too. Both are pessimistic about things, which may be confirmation bias, but both are also people trying to make money off blogging. They look in the past because they need people visiting their sites as it used to be. From one of Kottke’s articles in the recent past about similar topic, it felt like he saw RSS as downfall too, because it removed direct visitors from his site. // @colinwalker
  8. colinwalker says: #
    @oyam @ron That’s a very good point and one I’ve been thinking about since. Gruber presumably quotes the paragraphs he does because they focus on the switch to membership and how that affects the approach.
  9. kaa says: #
    @colinwalker @oyam @ron That’s exactly the point. I’ve not had this much fun blogging and interacting with people online since 2005. Maybe b/c Mb is still young and the users are fewer, but it feel right. It’s about the value you get from getting ideas online.
  10. Ron says: #
    @colinwalker Yes, looking for alternatives. We’ve seen that Seth Godin has started a podcast. Dave Winer has made the point that no silo has yet developed for podcasting. It is still entirely open.
  11. colinwalker says: #
    @Ron Apple tried to corner the market but what they have is still only a directory, a distribution channel. It’s great that you don’t need it but also handy for discovery should you want to go that route.
  12. Ron says: #
    @colinwalker Thanks, didn’t know that. As we’ve found with social media, making it possible to communicate freely, out in the open, is a worthy goal. I’m glad they were not able to corner the market.
  13. Ron says: #
    @oyam Which of course reminds us that RSS is our friend, making it so easy to find the best stuff we wanna read on the open web.