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

Thursday, July 10, 2003  

What’s the coolest thing about blogging? The money? The fame? Well, possibly for some bloggers. But for most of us, the coolest thing is the connections we form--which, oddly enough, happen mostly off-blog, via email. I thought it might be worthwhile to mention how this has played out for me.

First of all, Google is the great leveler. Yeah, the Times has a wads of cash and hundreds of writers, but when you type in “Terrance J. Wilkinson,” for example, on the first page you’ll find six relevant entries, and five of them are from bloggers (including an entry by me, which is how three people have found “Notes” so far today). So put that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. Lelyveld.

As a result, fascinating people discover my site. This rumination was inspired by yesterday’s email from David DiSabatino of the ACLU, who noted (very graciously) “I enjoyed your dossier on Ashcroft.” I have to tell you, getting a complimentary email from the ACLU is pretty much a day-maker.

Recently a former DOJ attorney dropped me a note to point out that the Terrorism Awareness System is not under the DOJ, but the DOD (so you can look for it to migrate over to Donald Rumsfeld’s dossier, which is forthcoming). I sent an email to Paul Krugman after a post I wrote was followed up the next day by a column of his that was very similar. I suspect that if I hadn’t been a blogger, he wouldn’t have sent back a note, but he did. Another day-maker. And of course, I've had a number of wonderful conversations with other bloggers who are, predictably, fascinating folks.

But as great as these connections are, they wouldn't have necessarily have affected my life much. But then there were some that have had that effect. About two or three months ago, a reader contacted me because he was involved with local progressives group. Shortly after that, another blogger in town who's involved with the Multnomah County Democrats contacted me, hoping that I'd become involved. (In Portland, liberals tend to go Green, rather than trying to reform the Dems). As a result, I crawled out of my dank screen-lit hole and for the first time have begun to participate in the political process.

Blogging forms a point of contact for people and creates community. Every morning, the first thing I do is check the email to see what's waiting. You never know who in the world will have sent you a message.

posted by Jeff | 11:12 AM |
Blogroll and Links