The part you are correct about is that it is easy to then get wrapped up in how many visitors your blog gets or how many upvotes your answer gets. Those vanity metrics definitely pull on the vanity strings. But, some people definitely do not care about "showing-off" when they put something up online.
If you don't care about showing off then you won't publish anything. People who are actually altruistic won't tell you about their altruism.
This isn't cynicism. The hunger for respect, admiration and recognition is not a bad thing. But it is necessary for people to understand what motivates them. And it is necessary for us to construct a society in which respect is earned by performing actions that are broadly beneficial to that society (as far as we can estimate, anyway).
Today, anyone can broadcast. But that doesn't mean that everyone should broadcast. The old gatekepers weren't perfect but they served a necessary purpose. Who are the new gatekeepers?
My point is that I think your thesis is too cynical. Many people start out writing their blogs or answer questions on public forums with the intent of trying to help other people out. The motivation can be of the form "I solved this problem and I am going to write about it because maybe my solution will save someone else time" rather than "I solved this problem and I am going to write about it so that everyone visits my website and I get famous." Maybe they become more motivated by vanity and blog metrics later on if their blog takes off. But, many people write stuff online with the intent to help others out and not solely out of hunger for respect, admiration and recognition.
> Today, anyone can broadcast. But that doesn't mean that everyone should broadcast. The old gatekepers weren't perfect but they served a necessary purpose. Who are the new gatekeepers?
You lost me here.
In general, there is no such thing as altruism. You always get something out of helping others that keeps you going. Nobody is truly selfless. Altuists are the species which died out long time ago.
I want to agree, but how can we explain near-anonymous StackOverflow profiles who have brilliant answers in them, but no way to identify who the actual person they are?
The fact that everyone ultimately wants peer-approval means we need to create participatory structures in which people are rewarded (with approval) for doing useful things. Stackoverflow is a perfect example of this. People gain karma by answering questions that other people ask.
"Everyone should have a blog" is the opposite of this. It's feel-good nonsense along the lines of "everyone has their own subjective truth and all truths are equal". If we tell everyone to publish it will become near-impossible to find voices worth hearing. It's like saying you should answer every question on stackoverflow whether or not you know the answer.
People see different facets of our identity, only God sees all of them.
In some cases our limited online presence might represent a more authentic version of our 'true selves' than we present in [the rest of] "real life".
>"it will become near-impossible to find voices worth hearing" //
Isn't the OP saying there that we all have a voice worth hearing. You're right that it would be harder to find the voices we could extract the most value from; but realistically that's probably already impossible.
Just like in real life; I'll underwhelm the average sleuth with the amount of badges I have vs. the work I've actually done.
I don't agree here. Perhaps "not everything should be broadcast" might be better?
I would posit that the new gatekeepers are algorithms. For example, Google search algorithms, Youtube recommendations, Facebook news feed Edgerank, etc.
There's a distinction between self promotion and genuine honest expression of who we are, what we presently think is true.
I feel like there is something fundamentally human when people try to do that with each other.