Ah, you know when things are becoming important when academics start producing half-baked reports on the subject. For instance:

…Michael Keren, who has written “Blogosphere: The New Political Arena,” suggests individuals who bare their souls in blogs are isolated and lonely, living in a virtual reality instead of forming real relationships or helping to change the world.

“Bloggers think of themselves as rebels against mainstream society, but that rebellion is mostly confined to cyberspace, which makes blogging as melancholic and illusionary as Don Quixote tilting at windmills,” the author says.

Keren, who teaches in the faculty of communication and culture, spoke to reporters Tuesday at The Loft, a student cybercafe at the university, where many students were busily typing away on laptops – perhaps updating blogs of their own.

“In this world of blogging, which the whole world can read, you have a personal expectation about a readership that’s just not there for the millions of bloggers who are writing their personal feelings.”

Now, to give the man due benefit of the doubt, this might just be another case of journalists misreporting scientific research, a subject that Lorna can hold forth about at length. The way the story reads, though, makes him sound really clueless. There’s no qualification in there, no indication that he understands that the personal journal style of weblog is only a small proportion of the whole. For comparison, it’s a bit like conducting a study of magazines, but restricting yourself to school newspapers. Claiming that all magazines are like that just makes you look stupid, however good your research actually is.

Hat-tip to Tango in her Eyes for the link.