My fear is that as we use nice site and networks that we will simply put on blinder to outside opinion and ideas. As we exist in a closed world with similar minded friends are we creating a large collection of echo-chambers and eradicating discussion and discourse? As our country and even the world polarizes more each day is it such a good idea to shut out thoughts and opinions that differ from your own? I think healthy discussion and confrontation will heal us all as long as we are willing and open to new ideas and opinions. Our current political crisis is a perfect example of what happens when you create an echo-chamber around your specific views of the world.This is the same fear the Cass Sunstein wrote about in Republic dot com, basically using the linking logic of the internet to say that no one is likely going to link with someone they disagree with.
Maybe we should though, maybe we should work harder to reach out to people we disagree with than back slap folks we like. I don't know.
It brings up two thoughts for me. Locally, Olyblog has become a nice, non-partisan place for folks of different political beliefs to dialogue like adults. They even get something accomplished by learning. Good example of what I think Sunstein and Randal would like in an alternative.
A conservative blogger in Washington (Patrick at RR) recently voiced the need for a non-partisan, or maybe omnipartisan, group site like Washblog.
Then, of course, there is the open letter at wikia.