Much has been written about the supposedly scabrous nature of technology blogs, bloggers, and those who read them.
Personally, I think it’s a lot of overheated sensationalism. Blogging, like any media, is just an interactive conduit to an audience. The audience that a blogger chooses to serve, and the message he or she chooses to impart to that audience, will largely determine the sort of dynamic that will result.
If a blogger calibrates his content for a broad audience, it is reasonable to expect that he will get a wide spectrum of readers, including a few who might be unbalanced. Similarly, if the tone of the blog is exuberant and rollicking, one can expect a similarly rambunctious following to accrue.
Some deranged individual spat on Michael Arrington of TechCrunch. In no way am I suggesting that Arrington deserved such a fate. What I am willing to suggest is that Arrington sought fame, fortune, and controversy. He took provocative positions on startup companies and Web 2.0 culture, and he did so with the clear intent of stirring the pot, of creating a loud and insistent buzz.
Even so, the vast majority of his readership is sane. By and large, it is not composed of lunatics, though it does attract a passionate and sometimes verbally abusive element.
Like newspapers and the old media that came before it, blogs attract a wide range of audiences. The New Post and the New York Times have different readerships, just as People and the New Yorker have different readerships. The same holds true for blogs. Each one is a reflection, to a degree, of the person or persons who created it.
There isn’t a anything inherent about blogging and blogs that makes them any more volatile than their media forebears.