Technology giveth and technology taketh away.

Jeneane doesn't like aggregators:

You know what happens to blogs when all you do is feed off their feeds, but you never click through and you never link and you never comment? THOSE BLOGS FALL DOWN GO BOOM. And the people you are forgetting to talk to are some of the hardest working bloggers in blog business. Working their asses off so you can save yourself the trouble of clicking a damn mouse. You'd rather read them in an ugly scrolling window. That's like coming over for dinner and eating in the front yard.

What's the matter with us? We have to get out and WALK the blog neighborhood.

I too have been uneasy about aggregators from the beginning. I didn't use one for ages and then only used NetNewsWire out of professional interest to see what all the fuss was about. Trouble is I then started building up my subscription list and needing to keep across large and larger lists of sources. It felt inevitable that I used the power of an aggregator to keep across all of the stuff that was important to me.

But I have stayed uneasy. It felt like I wasn't really visiting people any more. I had turned relationships into content. I was also increasingly frustrated that I didn't really know who was reading my own blog as it is hard to get a sense of how many people access your content through RSS and because of the lack of referalls you can't get to know them.

I talk about RSS and aggregators in my workshops promoting them as a good thing and I found myself thinking while writing this post that maybe they are justified in a business context where extracting information and processing it are what work is about.

But then I stopped myself.

Hang on. Isn't that falling into the same old trap as those so wedded to real grown up business who I spend my time tilting at? Isn't that just seeing business as a purely logical, mechanistic, efficient, money making activity rather than the relationship based, idea driven, potentially glorious pursuit I so passionately believe it could and should be?

Maybe I need to be advocating slowing things down, taking the time to build relationships, aspiring to raise the game and deepening the meaning that really makes the world of work worthwhile.

As Shelley says:

Communities, friendships, a sense of companionship and sharing can't be made or broken through the use of tools. If anything, when we become friends through our online associations, we have done something extraordinary - we have reached beyond the limits of technology and created something human, and real.

But it's a fragile reality - like the shadow of a pale moon.

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