BLOGGING AS A CREATIVE FEEDBACK LOOP
The other day Dr. Barnett posted at length on how blogging related to his productivity as a writer and conceptual thinker. It’s a good post on a number of levels.
First, it more fully illuminated the role of one Critt Jarvis as someone who was more than just a webmaster. I always suspected as much from reading Critt’s very occasional posts on his own blogs [ Critt likes to post quarterly I believe :O) ] where he’d hint at some very interesting subjects; from his bio on the old New Rule-Sets Project site; or from things I heard through email. It is now evident that Critt was a driving force in many aspects of Dr. Barnett’s own
” connectivity” in a way that put him way ahead of the curve compared to most other authors of foreign policy books.
Secondly, in terms of general interest it offers insight to a creative process most readers never see and seldom think about when holding the book as a finished product in their hand. This is something I’ve been curious about for a while because I’ve contemplated writing a book for a number of years. I’ve held off partly due to the tender age of the kids since my time is better spent with them; partly because I have not quite decided on ” the” subject, being interested in a lot of esoteric fields; and partly due to a need to learn more about the writing and publishing process. Toward that end I’ve done some research, pestered the always graciously patient Geitner Simmons for updates on his book project and picked the brain of a co-worker who is a successful writer of mysteries ( 5 books so far I think, and some kind of movie/TV deal) under a pen name. So, it was helpful to read about the creative steps Tom was going through as BFA was taking shape.
Thirdly, the post illustrates the blogosphere’s immense capacity as a synergistic feedback loop and sorting mechanism to bring intellects together who might not ever have been in contact otherwise. Along that line, Dr. Barnett was very kind to acknowledge my small contributions to his work and he also cited T.M. Lutas, Michael Lotus and Sean Meade in particular. All of us happened to get in contact only because Critt had talked Tom into setting up a blog. Obviously I’ve drawn a lot of intellectual energy from PNM discussions but I have to say there were many times that I felt a similar powerful resonance while bouncing ideas back and forth with Marc Schulman, Jeff Medcalf, Curzon, Younghusband and Chirol and especially Dan of tdaxp and Dave Schuler. These guys are intellectual peers and blogfriends who have really pushed me to think hard at times.
( Two others Collounsbury and Pundita, who mix like oil and fire, served a different role, occasionally, by sharply questioning my assumptions. in their own hard-edged, sometimes vehement, sometimes witty, highly distinctive manners. This is not the same function as the creative feedback loop but it’s also an invaluable one. Valid criticism does not hurt, it makes you a stronger thinker if you can integrate it and adapt. Invalid criticism you ignore. Wisdom is being able to discern the difference)
Prior to the advent of the internet and in particular the blogosphere, these sorts of group exchanges rarely happened outside of think tanks and universities. Corporate culture discouraged free exchange for reasons of power hierarchy and business focus that encouraged, by subtlety or coercion, extensive groupthink. Politics and law are highly adversarial, competitive, fields where the thinking style is dominated primarily by zero-sum mentalities and vertically-oriented perspectives.
The person who figures out how to productively harnesses this latent, horizontally-directed, creative feedback loop that is inherent in the blogosphere in order to drive an economic entity is going to make a significant mark.