Blogging and the death of the Renaissance man

Think of the ideal blogger as a bit like Leonardo Da Vinci.  Leonarda Da Vinci was, among other things, a painter, a sculptor, an architect, a musician, a scientist, an engineer, an inventor and a writer. A great blogger should aim to become Da Vinci – to use the creative commons of the internet to improve his or her knowledge on a vast range of subjects and to provoke debate on those subjects.

But the vast majority of blogs, and I include this blog in this list, fall so far short of this ideal. They do so because the structure, and sheer number, of blogs means that it is hard to claim authority over more than one area of expertise.

Blogging forces us further into our niches, our cliques, until we are in danger of losing perspective on why or what we are blogging about in the first place. My experience of the political blogosphere is that it tends to be increasingly self-congratulatory and referential, rather than bringing new people into the dialogue.

So what we get is instead of the internet making bloggers becoming knowledgeable about many different fields, they become obsessive about one to the point of becoming brainless. To continue the rather tenuous analogy imagine Da Vinci has decided to abandon all other skills and only focus on his painting. But to perfect his painting he has decided to stick his face as close to Van Gogh’s canvas as possible (and yes I know that makes no sense chronologically). He ceases to look at the way the painting is constructed, preferring instead to focus on the minutia in the vague idea that the big picture will all become clear, which of course it never does.

The point about Da Vinci is that he was only so fantastic at engineering and painting because he was a mathematician or that he was only a good writer because he was a painter. These skills are mutually reinforcing – by improving our selves in one area we improve another. Too much of the blogosphere is people focusing merely on getting access to one niche ‘market’ and ceasing to realise that writing a blog should be about personal development as well.

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One response to “Blogging and the death of the Renaissance man

  1. Don’t think you should use the Wiki source line. Da Vinci is one of the most famous men in history, we know how clever he was. In this case, flatter your own and the reader’s supposed knowledge.

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