Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Monday, July 19, 2004

So What Makes The Blogsphere Sizzle?

The LA Times unloaded a snark-bomb on the bloggers preparing to cover this year's political conventions.  According to The Font of All Wisdom and Truth by The Pacific, we bloggers are the sizzle, but not the steak.  Generally, steak sizzles because of the melted fat.  I'll admit, I'm not yet the Weight Watcher's Poster Boy, but I'm sure not as bad as Meatwad on the Adult Swim Cartoons.
So the question du jour would be why do people blog?  Also relevant, would be why do blogs exist?  I think people blog for several reasons.
1) They are bored.  This drives me a lot of the time.  (Never at work.  Oh no, Good Reader, I'd never do that.)  But you get the point.  Given nothing better to do, creative people will find ways to create.  The blogsphere offers that in abundance.  It's a remarkable outlet in which the average person can pour hopes, dreams, frustrations and money. 
2)   They don't believe the media and want to set the story straight.   Fellow Blogger, The Virginian, is an excellent sample of someone looking to correct the lies and stop 'inconvenient' truths from being burned in the CBSCNNNBCABC memory hole.   
3)  Then there's category three.  People, like me, who think the way they see the world is the way it should be.  I'm an unabashed propagandist.  I do it in part to counteract, in a small way, the unfair and dispicable advantage my political opponents have.  I primarily do it to make my country and the world a better place. 
I have black and white view of the world.  Conservatives are mostly good, liberals fundamentally suck.  I don't see any greater complexity to political life than that.
The second question, "why do blogs continue to exist?"; elicits a more thoughtful response.
1)  Blog sites collect an economic rent.  They either charge the blogger a fee to opine, or they charge advertisers a fee to post ads on the site.  Some websites are even well-read enough to charge subscriptions fees, but most are not that economically powerful yet. 
To justify an economic rent, the blogs must be providing something to someone that the LA Times or CNN Live cannot deliver with equal efficiency.  Perhaps the interactive nature appeals.  Or maybe it's the unfettered access to the medium enjoyed by the blogger and the commenter alike. 
People may not like what I or some other person has to say, but the market will defend, up to a certain price, our right to say it.  Maybe the economic rent collected over the blogsphere represents the current value we place on our unfettered 1st Amendment Rights.  That, or I need to smoke the milder stuff.  Who knows?
2)  Organizations appreciate opportunities to communicate with potential and current members without a filter of someone else's review or opinion.  CPUSA, The NRA, and several other organizations that people tend to hold strongly divergent opinions about, will use the internet to promote their point of view.  Obviously, someone makes good money providing them all with pulpits from which to bully.
3) Finally, I think everyone wants to feel like they have some control over the information that is out there.  We live in an age where information has been strongly equated with power.  No one wants to risk having no excess to information that they don't have at least some hand in.  That's about as sociological as I'll ever get without hip-waders handy, but I believe it motivates a lot of people to distrust the more traditional media and get out on the web. 
The LA Times may not believe there is any "there" there when it comes to blogging.  However, I think uniformed members of the mass media, who disregard truth the way that column in The Times did, justify, encourage and in fact, strengthen the blogsphere.   They will have to do a little better than Cartman.  Nobody is going to continue just respecting their authorite'.
The more misconceptions that get printed above the masthead, the more we will be needed to draw forth the mighty broadsword of truth and hack away at the outright lies and steathily shaded distortions.  When the big boys of media dis the blogsphere, the end up, ultimately, dissing themselves.


As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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