Web of Influence -Blogger touts Miracle of blogging: go figure...
November 4, 2004 5:25 PM   Subscribe

Web of Influence Every day, millions of online diarists, or “bloggers,” share their opinions with a global audience. Drawing upon the content of the international media and the World Wide Web, they weave together an elaborate network with agenda-setting power on issues ranging from human rights in China to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. What began as a hobby is evolving into a new medium that is changing the landscape for journalists and policymakers alike. Hmm. Big Talk or should I get a clue & with the program ? Decisions, decisions....
posted by y2karl (15 comments total)
online diary does not necessarily equal blog.

posted by solistrato at 5:33 PM on November 4, 2004

Daniel Drezner [University of Chicago] -- who despite strongly conservative tendencies, voted for Kerry -- and Henry Farrell [GWU] of ideologically independent group blog Crooked Timber know that "online diarist" is the best way to describe blogging to hide-bound print readers such as the audience for Foreign Policy magazine. Dan's been working on this article for a number of months, as I recall.
posted by dhartung at 6:19 PM on November 4, 2004

Now them's comments. imho.
posted by y2karl at 7:37 PM on November 4, 2004

And the Alternate Reality Gaming system, part of the ReGenesis (re-gene-sys) sci-fi drama series, from Canada.

Are you with the program?

I am.

i have now decided that i am determined to drop out of the program. but only after i press 'post'.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:12 PM on November 4, 2004

Heh. Weblogs changing the world!

Folks, weblogs aren't the new journalism. At best, they're the new Letters to the Editor, or talk-back radio and we all know how wonderful those things are. Call me when all these "new journalism" webloggers types start, you know, interviewing people, doing investigative reporting, you know, getting first hand facts. Oops! When they do those things, they won't be called weblogs anymore, they'll be called online newspapers.

" The posts often include hyperlinks to other sites"

As others have said above, there's no "often" about it. No links, is no weblog. It's a diary or opinion piece that might happen to be posted in reverse-chronological order. If displaying the newest information first is some grand earth-shattering discovery then I must be smarter than I look because I came up with the idea myself once.

"Increasingly, journalists and pundits take their cues about “what matters” in the world from weblogs...A few elite blogs have emerged as aggregators of information and analysis,"

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, in other words. A few lucky souls get to dictate the message of the day, while we grovel for crumbs.

Nishimura, however, scrutinized the various media reports and found several inconsistencies.

And this is related to him having a weblog...how? His ability to do this comes from the wide variety of news media that's out there online and easily accessible, not the fact that he has a weblog. Like I said, 20 years ago with the same data he could have discovered the same inconsistencies and written a letter to the New York Times.

Glenn Reynolds, Andrew Sullivan, and Virginia Postrel, cited Nishimura’s analysis to focus attention on the issue and correct the original narrative.

Boy am I glad that Glenn Reynolds is there to use other people's work to "correct the narrative". Where would be be without him?

Look, I've had a weblog since 2000. But I can't help thinking the "new journalism" hype about weblogs has all been done before. I'm just picturing student activists in the 60s thinking their radical zines were gonna change the world, man.
posted by Jimbob at 8:34 PM on November 4, 2004

>"online diarist" is the best way to describe blogging

I tell my friends I do online pamphleteering. Its the return of the political pamphlet as far as I'm concered.
posted by skallas at 9:09 PM on November 4, 2004

well, blogs (in the form of Slate, OK) apparently changed the stock market the other day.
posted by mwhybark at 9:17 PM on November 4, 2004

Jimbob I agree with you. I think most blog readers are other bloggers. I really doubt more than a small percentage of Americans have any idea what "Daily Kos" or "Wonkette" means.
Blogging - Zine culture for the new millennium. It spreads the word among the believers but probably doesn't have a high conversion rate or a high retention rate.
posted by arse_hat at 9:58 PM on November 4, 2004

Comparisons to zine culture and pamphleteering are fine as far as they go, but they miss a crucial point: Blogging happens on a different time and volume scale.

And noticing that the majority of reader-action in blogosphere is round-robin (or "circle-jerk" if you prefer) also misses a crucial point: A few of them are read by influential non-bloggers.

It's the key nodes that give value to the whole network: A few key bloggers get read by lots of people, or by lots of influential people. Those few key nodes in turn get their value from the syncretic actions of the many others that you're thinking about, who (generally) only read one another. So, for example, LGF is clearly not one of the "key nodes" in the same sense as, say, Glenn Reynolds. But if Glenn leverages the aggregate power of LGF, he can produce something that has a powerful impact. It's really just a real-world ramification of Metcalfe's Law.

And again, to point out that this is not journalism is also to miss the point: It is what it is. Journalists are unlikely to ever be real key nodes, because they've got a slow interface: They have to bring stuff from the real world into the virtual, which happens at relatively low bitrates (there's that time scale again); key-node bloggers like Wonkette can just process the virtual inputs. Again: Metcalfe's Law. It's a network; networks increase their ramifications at a rate approaching geometric. Society is also a network, and journalists operate within social networks -- but technological amplification does something interesting to the blogosphere.

This is not an argument for the primacy of blogging over journalism, BTW; I'm just pointing out some things that I think dismissive attitudes will cause you to miss. We're just really looking at the emergence of new modalities; how they ramify is yet to be determined. You can choose to see it as ominious or woundrous; for myself, I'll stick to "intriguing."
posted by lodurr at 4:46 AM on November 5, 2004

Well, it beats Why Is Mary-Kate So Unhappy? for me...
posted by y2karl at 5:03 AM on November 5, 2004

I had a disturbing dream about Mary-Kate last night. (As I think about it, maybe it's the very fact I'd have a dream about Mary-Kate...and oddly enough, I'm not really sure what she looks like....)
posted by lodurr at 5:08 AM on November 5, 2004

Look, I've had a weblog since 2000.

posted by Mo Nickels at 5:59 AM on November 5, 2004

lodurr I think you are correct and I am not dismissing the role of blogs in the future of politics or the media but In the most recent primaries and election what shocked me the most was the huge disconnect between what people I know who spend a lot of time on-line (say more than an hour a day) and what the rest of the people I know were saying. I realize my sample my be small but It really blow me away how divergent the opinions were.
posted by arse_hat at 8:41 AM on November 5, 2004

Interesting point. I hadn't thought much about it, that way. I've become so inured to the internet's penetration into my life that I barely notice anymore that most people don't live, eat, breathe and sleep it, like many do of We Who Are Online.
posted by lodurr at 9:57 AM on November 5, 2004

Jimbob, my blog has interviewed people in the biz (it's about the advertising world) since it started. Does this make it "not a blog"? I mean, we're still talking about reverse chronological order dated posting right? this term blog is confusing isn't it?
posted by dabitch at 10:11 AM on November 5, 2004

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