Friday, September 05, 2003

Hurray for the Blog

Just about everyone (ie. Drezner, and Dr. Frank) is posting this article from Columbia's school of journalism. Thought I would too. It's about the impact of blogging.

Blogging technology has, for the first time in history, given the average Jane the ability to write, edit, design, and publish her own editorial product to be read and responded to by millions of people, potentially for around $0 to $200 a year. It has begun to deliver on some of the wild promises about the Internet that were heard in the 1990s. Never before have so many passionate outsiders, hundreds of thousands, at minimum stormed the ramparts of professional journalism.

At this instant, all over the world, bloggers are busy popularizing underappreciated print journalists (like Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Steyn), pumping up stories that should be getting more attention (like the Trent Lott debacle), and perhaps most excitingly of all, committing impressive, spontaneous acts of decentralized journalism.

About InstaPundit On September 11, his traffic jumped from 1,600 visitors to almost 4,200; now it averages 100,000 per weekday.

More useful numbers. Meanwhile, Blogger alone has more than 1.5 million registered users, and LiveJournal reports 1.2 million. No one knows how many active blogs there are worldwide, but Blogcount (yes, a blog that counts blogs) guesses between 2.4 million and 2.9 million. Freedom of the press belongs to nearly 3 million people.

It seems that blogging has had a big impact a check on mainstream journalism. But I think in a very short time, blogging is going to have a larger political impact. Not only do bloggers bypass the major papers and disseminate new information, but I think they are bypassing mainstream interest groups. By blogging, Andrew Sullivan is able to put forward his views on gay rights filtered through a Catholic perspective (even if his faith has been rocked). His political perspective would not fit in with the mainstream gay interest groups, and would probably never be heard but not for his blog. Individual bloggers can assemble followers and press for action, which would have been impossible in the past without the money and organization of large groups. Any way, that's just one idea that I've been throwing about lately.

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