TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Everyone's Always Been a Critic - But Net Makes Their Voices Count

Re: Everyone's Always Been a Critic - But Net Makes Their Voices Count
Tue, 2 May 2006 16:41:59 EDT

In a message dated 1 May 2006 14:43:06 -0700, writes:

> Monty Solomon wrote:

>> By Scott Kirsner, Globe Columnist

>> Roger Ebert may be endangered, Entertainment Weekly on its way to
>> extinction. Have you noticed how many no-name critics are suddenly
>> serving up pithy opinions about movies, books, music, and video games
>> on the Net?

>> "The cultural influencers are changing," says Brian Kalinowski,
>> chief operating officer of Lycos, the Waltham Internet portal.
>> "Expert opinion in the media used to drive culture. Now, it's peer
>> recommendations."

> I don't hold much credence to it. It has about as much influence as
> traditional "word of mouth" has (although word of mount could be
> pretty powerful).

Specifically with respect to motion pictures, it is clear that
critics do not and never did "drive culture." Many, many pictures
lauded by the critics failed miserably at the box office, while some
that the critics considered either trash or beneath serious notice
brought in lots of the public.

> Further, the social advocates quickly grabbed on this stuff early on,
> and have turned it into very partisan soapboxes, which has tuned out
> others who aren't as passionate. For example, there's a railroad
> newsgroup that doesn't spend too much time talking about railroad
> stuff. Rather, it is mostly flame wars between advocates of passenger
> trains and those who hate trains altogether. The haters seem to be
> very well organized and respond to almost every post. (see
> misc.transport.rail.americas and go through some of the threads).

I am interested in railroads and railroading and for several years I
participated in that particular newsgroup. It became more and more
merely flame posts between passionate advocates of these two
positions. I finally dropped out because, as you say, little about
railroads was included in the posts and there was nothing but an
endless iteration of the same arguments by the same people on both

However, I would suggest that the "anti-" faction did not hate trains
altogether -- just passenger trains.

There are well over 100 lists -- some have counted more than 200 -- on
various railroad topics, some of them very tightly focused. Some of
them have hundreds of participants and engage in rational (and usually
civil) discourse.

Wes Leatherock

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