Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Friday, June 20, 2003  

Via Atrios, an article on the most influential blogs (as rated by the most influential bloggers). The usual suspects were fingered most often--Reynolds, Sullivan, Alterman, Marshall, Lileks, etc. There were almost no non-pro bloggers mentioned, either (Atrios came in tenth on one list). This is reasonable, because the methodology was this: "So we've created a graphical depiction of what I believe are the most influential blogs, pushing the direction of media coverage and perhaps even public policy."

But it got me thinking. The blogosphere isn't really just an alternative news/commentary medium. In terms of influencing the major media, it makes sense that the pros are going to be visible. But when it comes to organizing a protest of the FCC vote, you turn to the non-pros. The pros view their role mostly as journalism--partisan, certainly--but they stop short of activism. The non-pros are actually as interested in the community as they are simply in posting the news or thoughts about the news. The pros, as journalists, rightly stay a little bit to the side of the fray.

The blogosphere will become a killer app, though, only through this synthesis of community and issues. The reason the pros are relevant is because their blogs provide them an opportunity to print speech that's not regarded as commercial enough to be published. Essentially, these articles are like those in newspapers and magazines (though generally they're written much more informally). In a larger sense, though, the blogosphere will become relevant when it transcends this single-direction flow of ideas. That's its real advantage.

(As if to disprove my thesis, as I was writing this, I had an exchange with the author of the article in question, Mark Glaser. I wrote him a rumination akin to what's in this post and he wrote back (in part): "I agree that smaller blogs have had an impact, and will continue to do so, and appreciate your comments. You're welcome to post them alongside the column, if you wish, by hitting the Speak Up button. But I think I might cover the smaller blogs in a future column -- keep in touch.")

posted by Jeff | 10:27 AM |
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