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Blogger Scott Rosenberg sees abundance on web

October 21, 2010

by Vinny Costantino

The closing question at blogger Scott Rosenberg’s address to a packed house at The College of Saint Rose Thursday was this: “Do  you believe that in order to be good and effective citizens we now have to be digital citizens?”  Rosenberg, the author of Say Everything,  responded this way:  “No, but it’s an opportunity you shouldn’t miss.”

Saint Rose’s Frequency North welcomed Rosenberg for the National Day on Writing.  Rosenberg has been writing since he was young, and in the midst of terror over what many think the internet can do to writing and journalism, Rosenberg sees an opportunity, he sees blogging.  According to Rosenberg, a blog, in its simplest form, is “a personal website where the newest material goes on top.”  Beyond that, it’s whatever the blogger wants it to be.

Rosenberg began the night announcing the implicit fear that “every generation fears the death of literacy,” and that the Internet is potentially the next terminal illness.  When Rosenberg first saw the Internet, he saw an opportunity, an opportunity for the common person to get his or her voice out there to be heard with the potential for feedback and consequences.

This opportunity had never really been offered to the common person and this was the chance for everyone to be heard and for people to open up to a changing environment in both literacy and journalism.  It is inviting to novice writers who have never put pen on paper and taken a step toward being a writer.  Even though they know they may never make a penny doing so, it helps people become better writers by allowing them to make their writing public and put it out there with the chance of feedback and potential consequences.

Rosenberg also dismissed a number of common criticisms of blogging.  The simple dismissal of many of these

Scott Rosenberg at Frequency North Thursday, October 20, 2010 (Chelsea Kruger)

criticisms is something along the lines of, blogging did not create rude, narcissistic, vulgar, or untruthful people, it simply provided a medium for rude, narcissistic, vulgar, and untruthful people to “strut” their negative attitude.  These people all existed before the Internet, and just the same as these things are patrolled and kept in check in the physical world, they need to be patrolled and kept in check in the digital world.

Despite his pro-blogging attitude, Rosenberg still recognizes the value in a hand written letter or a holiday card.

Joe Krausman of Menands, said that “the Internet interferes with warm relationships,” and that “something is missing from the Internet.”  He asked Rosenberg about this, and Rosenberg did not dismiss the fact that a hand written letter or a greeting card is an important part of relationships.  Rosenberg did not feel that these things would disappear.  He said society will not lose hand-written communications, but will build on a new form.

Tom and Linda Porter of East Greenbush, who attended, both agreed that the Internet is a great tool, but writers still need to be careful about computer use.  The newest Microsoft “Word for Windows cannot read the first version of Word,” Tom Porter said.  He also said he fears that in the future, despite what Rosenberg says about having digital files forever, society may not have the access to text that is written in the current version of HTML in 50 or 100 years. -30-


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