Validation is what we seek in the blogosphere. We read things we wish to agree with. We go into a fantasy world where other people are like us, and we stay there as long as we need to in order to gain courage to face the crises around us.
This should not be a surprise. In fact, it's what has happened with every new medium in our past, in every run-up to a political crisis.
What do you think the Beverly Hillbillies, Gilligan's Island and Green Acres were all about? They were TV fantasies, which parents of the time rushed to for validation. The same was true for the sitcoms of early 1930s radio, such as Amos & Andy and (later) the Jack Benny Show. They sold a fantasy in which there was plenty to eat and problems were solved in 20 minutes.
The history of the 1890s was written by newspapers that gave readers, not the truth, but fantasies – the Spanish-American War was a newspaper-driven fantasy. And the ideological newspapers of the 1850s also sold fantasy, for those seeking validation of their own views.
This is the way we deal with a world of excess, and of approaching crisis. We look for something we can nod our heads to. We don't want to be challenged. We're not there for a good argument. Reality, political or otherwise, gives us a headache. We look for refuge.
But here is a second, equally important point. This search for a new medium, and this healthful search for validation, also heralds a permanent change in our media consumption, a generational change. The coming generation will be as comfortable with the Internet as its parents were with TV, and as their parents were with radio.
If you want to make a permanent name for yourself, in other words, this is the place to do it. And now is the time. Look at how the crew of Star Trek is still making a living from that fantasy, 40 years on.
Just don't challenge people, as I do. That would be a mistake. The audience seeking challenge in a new medium is always a small, niche audience.
I'm glad to have you here.