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Blogging – You Say You Want a Revolution?
Tuesday June 07th 2005, 12:43 pm
Filed under: media,politics
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For most people with bittersweet memories of the late 90s, any buzzword that pertains to the Internet brings up bad memories of worthless stock options, wiped out savings, perhaps unemployment and a fleecing of some investors by crooked Wall Street executives.

Now while there was a significant artificial layer of fraud in the late 90s, underneath that vile layer was a true revolution in the way human beings acquire and disseminate information. Information WANTS to be free. That’s the nature of information. It want to travel at the simultaneity of light speed. That’s what electronic and networked media accomplishes. Of course I’m not breaking any new ground here. Marshall McLuhan was talking about this in the 60s. Oh if he were alive today.

So when the word ‘Blog’ saturated the media this past two years, most people thought ‘Oh great, yet another empty calorie buzzword that will be used to fleece greedy speculators out of their retirement’. I have to admit, I felt the same way.

Then something happened. As Bush entered the middle of his first administration, the American public began to ferociously debate issues. The war was becoming very real at this point, and those of us who thought Bush was merely saber rattling suddenly realized these guys meant business. Many people become active in finding out just what the hell was going on. Where were passionate citizens debating these topics? Where were they getting their information for debates? Where were they educating themselves? The Blogosphere became important.

Now I’m not saying it wasn’t important before this period, but indeed as the issues in front of us suddenly meant life or death for thousands of young American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis, the debates become fierce.

As the drunken orgy of ‘Shock and Awe’ commenced, something amazing happened. I saw Iraqi citizens BLOGGING. Most people didn’t see the significance of this, but I did.

I saw American soldier BLOGGING in real time. This was something that has never happened in the history of human warfare. Citizens back home eating freedom fries were getting direct, real time information from people on the ground not filtered though CNN. Recollect the first Gulf War. That war was broadcast on CNN. This was a revolution in itself. But it was a heavily filtered view.

Watch the evolution–

WW2 was brought to our eyes though newspapers and Gov’t sponsored ‘newsreels’ in movie theaters–completely one-sided.

Vietnam was broadcast in bits and pieces on major TV networks. Suddenly, Americans saw glimpses of how horrible war could be.

Gulf War 1 was fought on Cable

The War in Iraq changed everything. Suddenly there were WEBCAMS in Baghdad available to anyone with a network connection. Iraqis were blogging. Soldiers were blogging. And the American people were suddenly given immediate and unlimited information. Pictures surfaced of Iraqi civilians being slaughtered by bombs. Videos were distributed in real time across the Internet of BEHEADINGS. Anyone with a network connection could now see what was happening in some tiny dungeon in the middle of Iraq. This was completely unprecedented and it changed everything.

Fast forward to the election of 2004. The Blogosphere becomes the world’s largest Peer-Review network in the world. If you put something up defending Bush or Kerry on a blog, you would have your argument dissected by thousands of vehement bloggers on the other side. Then…. Dan Rather.

Now this to me is one of the most significant events to occur in communication ever. Dan Rather and 60 Minutes – a legendary bastion of mainstream, respected journalism – was absolutely brought to their knees by… are you ready for this? BLOGGERS. This network of ‘amateur’ journalists uncovered the sloppy (some say intentionally inaccurate) reporting of the ‘memo’ regarding Bush’s stay in the National Guard. This was a significant step toward Blogging as a mainstream channel of information. You may or may not agree with the Right – but you have to give credit where it’s due. They are just as powerful and savvy in Blogging as the left.

So… KEEP BLOGGING PEOPLE. Driving Socrates is going to spread its net across borders and bring in thoughtful people around the world to share with up new perspectives and help educate us when we aren’t informed. The global debate is here – welcome.

2 Comments so far
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Definitely. The right is just as capable, and on the whole has a much better understanding of language and communications and how to use them to push their agenda. Progressives absolutely must do the same, but better, and more of it. Keep on bloggin’.

Comment by eric 06.07.05 @ 12:51 pm

Very well said. I think that blogging is giving us back our hometown newspapers, except now the hometown is the world. The peer review process is exactly what we need to both grow media coverage and keep it honest. Clearly the growth of corporate media has failed to do the second and while techniques in presentation of the information have become an artform, the individual accountability of the journalists have been replaced by board rooms that are in existence to make these media giants more profitable. They are responsible to their stockholders first. The pursuit of truth falls in varying degrees behind this.

In the reformation, Martin Luther spread information that had been hidden behind ancient languages like Greek and Hebrew or behind the language of the educated Latin through the creation of a written language in the native tongue of the people he served. He used the recently invented printing press to set free the words of the bible – information that had been used to oppress people. He put theology in the hands of individuals.

Similarly we are now being handed a technology that is radically shifting the information power structure. Like with the printing, press the question must be asked. What will we do with this technology? I do believe that Driving Socrates is in keeping with the promise of this technology and allows us to build connections with our global community. It will rely on each and every one of us to build the integrity of the channel and respect one another, so that we ourselves are not prone to attack. It is an exciting and humbling responsibility and privilege. I feel amongst a good community already and am looking forward to expanding it with our good work.

Comment by andrei 06.07.05 @ 4:39 pm

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