Do blogs change opinions? Dan Gillmor: No

Dan Gillmor, one of the first traditional journalist bloggers and author of We the Media, did a presentation on blogging at the Accelerating Change conference yesterday. Nothing new, but I did get a chance to ask him the question I posed in this post: Are blogs and the ensuing comments actually changing people’s opinions or is it just this-is-my-opinion and this-is-my-opinion? His answer: No. Putting all the fact checking, and original reporting, and all of that to one side, when it comes to opinions and the “conversations” happening, the changing of opinions is not frequent, he thinks. He accredits this to a larger theme in today’s world of many people not changing their opinion on anything. I thought this was a weak secondary point. Though a very important opinion on opinions by a true blog pioneer.

One Response to Do blogs change opinions? Dan Gillmor: No

  1. Hi Ben,
    I was so busy typing/blogging away at AC2004 that I didn’t get a chance to meet you.

    I think Dan does have a point. In general people’s views are pretty entrenched – and we can’t exclude ourselves – i.e. I have to throw myself into that statement. I guess one of the aims of my blog is to demonstrate the pros/advantages to having and keeping an open mind.

    “This is my opinion” rants or comments do little to persuade. So I think there is a lot to be learned about communication. I find that the ability to be a good listener (once quite difficult for me) helps me be a better communicator and get my point across better. Finding common ground, what I’ve called the “we story” (ref from book, The Art of Possibility), is critical.

    I’ve changed my own opinions myself since I’ve been blogging. My whole approach to marketing has totally changed…although I think I was already going in the right direction. This has usually happened via reading other’s blogs and through personal email addressed to me more than from any comments though. But, then again, I really strive to keep an open mind. At AC2004, David Brin says, “Sanity should be adaptability – the ability to take new information and change your mind.” I agree.

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