I'm reminded of an argument I read (and liked) in Logic class back at university. It went something like this... Despite what everyone thinks and says, small towns are more cosmopolitan than large cities. In a large city there are always enough people like you so that you can form a micro-community of practically identical people. Now, cosmopolitanism is "having an exciting and glamorous character associated with travel and a mixture of cultures". If you form a micro-community of similar people, then that's not really a mixture of cultures at all. On the other hand, in a small town, there is no possibility to find enough people like you to form a game of bridge, nevermind a micro-community. Thus, you are forced to associate with people who are not like you and likely widely different even from each other (assuming you don't become a hermit). Thus, a small town is more cosmopolitan. Interesting, isn't it? There are a few obvious problems with the argument. But, if we look at it charitably, it's reasonably compelling. There is definitely something to it. Ok, so now on to the Web. The Web was always supposed to be like a big city: a large cosmopolitan marketplace or community where all kinds of diverse people share their views. And, well, maybe it was conceived like that, but I'm not sure it really works that way. Let's put the technical issues aside for now (though I am interested in the discussion on the fragmentation of the Web by Werbach and Orlowski). So, given the drive to create (or maintain?) community on the Web, I'm starting to think the Web is like the large city of the argument above. It's so large, and so full of many opinions, that one can drink one's fill of ideas that are just like one's own. One need never encounter, let alone confront, differing views. You can see this especially well on blogs. A typical blog contains what's called a blogroll, a list of other blogs liked by the writer. Well, these are all similar. Maybe not in content, but certain in attitude. The point is that you could spend a day following links and encounter only similarity. Is this the goal of the Web? Of course not. Actually, I don't think that creating community is the point, either. But, I will explore that topic in another post.