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What Would People Think?

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Revolution Won't Be Televised...It Will Be Blogged

The N.Y. Times has an interesting editorial on the growth of blogs. It seems only right that I post it in its entirety:

Earlier this week, Technorati, a Web site that indexes blogs, released its semiannual "State of the Blogosphere" report. It records a steady, and astonishing, growth. Nearly 80,000 new blogs are created every day, and there are some 14.2 million in existence already, 55 percent of which remain active. Some 900,000 new blog postings are added every day - a steady increase marked by extraordinary spikes in new postings after incidents like the London bombing. The blogosphere - that is, the virtual realm of blogdom as a whole - doubles in size every five and a half months.

If the blogosphere continues to expand at this rate, every person who has Internet access will be a blogger before long, if not an actual reader of blogs. The conventional media - this very newspaper, for instance - have often discussed the growing impact of blogging on the coverage of news. Perhaps the strongest indicator of the importance of blogdom isn't those discussions themselves, but the extent to which media outlets are creating blogs - or bloglike manifestations - of their own.

That is the serious side of the blogosphere. But blogs are often just a way of making oneself appear on the Internet. It's like a closed-circuit video camera that catches a glimpse of you walking by an electronics store window filled with televisions. There you are in all your glory, suddenly, if not forever, mediated. Starting your own blog used to require a certain amount of technical expertise. Now you can do it from within popular Web portals like MSN and AOL, using tools that make it almost as easy as sending e-mail. These days, a surprising number of people write home by posting to their blogs - that is, by writing to everyone on earth.

It's natural enough to think of the growth of the blogosphere as a merely technical phenomenon. But it's also a profoundly human phenomenon, a way of expanding and, in some sense, reifying the ephemeral daily conversation that humans engage in. Every day the blogosphere captures a little more of the strange immediacy of the life that is passing before us. Think of it as the global thought bubble of a single voluble species.

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