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February 11, 2007



I agree with your premise that "if individual expression is to influence or make an impact on how individuals are governed, it requires a degree of public-ness. Thus, shared individual expression-in which ideas become public, clash with, confront and merge with one another-is a critical requirement for a working democracy."
I feel like the project description or outline for what you are actually going to do though, is pretty vague. So I don't think that I should answer your questions, but rather leave them for your group, as a means of refining your actual plan.
In reference to "the daily me" article, while it is possible to customize one's experience to the point that one won't hear opposing viewpoints, I doubt that such a high level of filtering is generally wanted. People that are not interested in the news can avoid it online or not. But people that are interested probably enjoy hearing what the other side has to say that way they can berate them/have a friendly debate in their blog. Brian Anderson in "South Park Conservatives" talks about the rise of blogs and their relationship to democracy. He notes that the ability to link to other stories with different viewpoints may encourage, rather than discourage democratic debate.
Power laws exist in hard copy newspapers too; it isn't just an online phenomenon. A new, small newspaper with limited resources is going to have a hard time competing with the NYT. Likewise, newer blogs will have trouble attracting the audience of more established blogs. It doesn't mean that they will never become public, just not public to the same degree, and I don't know if that's really a bad thing, assuming the best blogs are the ones that become really popular.

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