I had only one response: "Yeah, it's lonely at the top."
Maybe I was tired. Maybe it was my standard cynicism. Maybe it was the truth.
I had to grin and bear it until I could get my hands on a copy of the article at the airport terminal. I had a bunch of thoughts in mind, but thought best to read the piece first before jumping to any conclusions (how old school journalist is that?).
The article is below-the-fold on today's cover of The Montreal Gazette. It's under the Psychology Of Cyberspace heading and the title is "Only the lonely write blogs, prof says - People who keep weblogs are isolated and withdrawn, author contends."
Here's another gem of content from Keren:
"Many Bloggers are isolated, lonely and withdrawn, choosing to form virtual relationships instead of the real thing. Bloggers think of themselves as rebels against mainstream society, but that rebellion is mostly confined to cyberspace, which makes Blogging as melancholic and illusionary as Don Quixote tilting at windmills."
(don't feel bad, I also had to hop over to Wikipedia to understand that comparison).
I don't know about you, but I would hardly describe myself - or most of the other Bloggers I know - as lonely, isolated or withdrawn. In fact, quite the opposite. Through the power of Blogs, I've met, connected and become friends with more people than ever before. It has been an incredible tool to connect me to many different types of communities which include: Bloggers, Podcasters, Marketers, Advertising, Communications and Public Relations Professionals to name a few. I wonder if Keren can wrassle up forty people to a Geek Dinner or create an Unconference and muster up over three hundred people who found out about those events via his book?
How about this quote from Keren:
"Many are writing a sermon no one is going to hear."
Hey, Michael Keren, lean in when you read this, because I really want your attention: This Blog gets over twenty-thousand unique visitors a month - and that doesn't include people who are grabbing it through RSS subscription feeds or the thousands of downloads the Six Pixels of Separation - The Twist Image Podcast gets. I have a hunch that more people will visit this Blog in one month than the total number of sales of your book, globally... ever.
That ain't ego talking. It's reality.
I think it's easy to make a grand statement like Keren did - he has to do something to get PR and sell his book. It's just too bad he did it at the expense of some of the greatest minds ever to put their thoughts down on a Blog. Something also tells me that he might be getting the last laugh: how many other authors would like to get the cover of The Montreal Gazette?
I'm frustrated that stories like this get front page attention when we all know the truth: great minds (and real authors) who leverage this new channel to test out new theories, families who pull together and raise awareness for a tragic disease, people who connect with others and build social activism and yes, Michael, lonely people who finally have a voice and a place to share who they are and what matters to them in a world that can be very cold and cruel. If a Blog helps them connect to a community, that's also about as far away from loneliness and isolation as I can imagine possible.
There's a very simple way to prove Michael Keren wrong: spread the word far and wide to everyone you can and tell them to not buy his book, Blogosphere: The New Political Arena. I mean, if he's right, who will take the word of someone lonely, isolated and withdrawn?