J...whew! thanks for posting that the conversation this afternoon was not about my nip ;-)
To comment further:
The identities we present on-line are often context-specific, but people take them as our totality because it's the only information about us they have access to.
This is what I meant as person vs. personna. a blog can never contain the totality of an individual. Case in point: I have kept my theological background out of my profile up until today. I have, up to this point, felt it a detriment because, let's face it, theology ain't the hippest subject to have a background in...and I get tired of telling people that I'm not The Church Lady finding Satan under every bad haircut. (Then again, maybe they can figure that out from the hat.)
I do, however, from this moment on, risk being categorized a certain way. That's the risk I'll take.
Be that as it may, I agree with J that any cure would be worse than the "evils" it is meant to correct. What I would encourage, though, is better awareness among bloggers as to what is being said and done with their blogs. It would be nice to see more reasoned and rational discussion--out in the open, in msm and on blogs--about what is being said about and done with blogs. We don't need more tabloid TV discussions on the evils of blog stalkers and on-line bullies. Encouraging knowledge of the "ivory tower" conversations about the blogosphere as much as about business's desire to plumb blogs is, IMO, important to creating wise bloggers as well as better blog community memebers. From my vantage point, there are many corners of the blogosphere, many sectors of the tail, that are blissfully oblivious to what is going on among those who are Observers on High--and they should be more savvy, lest they lose a bit more of their sense of blog autonomy.
So, in some odd way, this kind of dovetails with J's clarification of J.R.'s position.
His issue is that often people don't have a clear definition of the communities they belong in and therefore their communities are weakened. Knowing who in your area supports things you are interested in can help you make better decisions on where to shop, what to buy and how to use it. This concept would (likely) get people away from the products of the monoliths that are doing the offensive data mining.
When clarified, this sounds like a good idea, and a good counter to the offensive stuff. Yet I find it sad that there has to be socially conscious marketing to counter offensive marketing.
It makes me wonder though when the whole conversation about community (globally speaking here) in the blogosphere, and finding like minds in the blogosphere via refined metrics, got boiled down to who's doing the advertising and the need for ethical advertising? When does the concept of "community" become predominately associated with consumerism rather than with making it easier to find others conversing--not pontificating--about topics of personal interest not connected to the latest and greates in entertainment and politics.
Maybe it's just the unhip theologian in me that has trouble with being reduced to a marketing cohort before I can find community.