Blogs: do we learn from disagreement?

As I’ve been browsing through Blog Explosion sites over the past 2 weeks I’ve noticed that there are, as we’d expect, many conflicting opinions regarding U.S. politics as well as U.S. foreign policy. There’s nothing wrong with this conflict, but it has me wondering about the role of the internet, and blogs in particular, in the mediation of political discussion. My initial thinking is that blogs offer citizens the opportunity to engage one another and that this could be most useful when those involved in the discussion have differing viewpoints. I have doubts though. Much of what I see can be best characterized as shallow and angry reaction. Should we not be making more of an effort to work through our differences? I suppose this is really just a question about the goals of communication. I’d guess that our behavior here is reflective of our “real life” communications.

Why do we blog? Why do we read the blogs of others? Is it that we are brilliant and must share our genius? Or is it based on a desire to learn from others? What do we really learn when we read the words of those we disagree with? Just a few of many possible questions.

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