I’ll confess to some trepidation when I picked up today’s New York Times editorial on the exploding blogosphere, inspired by Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere reports. And I cringed as I read a few late-to-the-party notions: They think that MSN and AOL made blogs easy when, of course, the entire reason it all exploded more than five years ago was because Blogger made it easy. They also surmise that what marks blogs’ arrival is that big media is now blogging:
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 let that go. Give them their moment of protective hubris. Have faith. Keep reading until you get to the last graph:
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.
Now I suspect that some will say that the Times editorialists are trying to diminish the importance of blogging by making it merely personal chatter. But actually, I’ll argue, that instead, they are coming to understand the essence of this movement or phenomenon or social shift or whatever it is: They realize that it’s about people.
In my blog and email exchange with Times Executive Editor Bill Keller (who does not oversee the editorials), that was where at least I came out: Blogs are people.
So now the real question is — and it’s a question for you, Times editorialists — how do you join in that conversation at that human level?
: MEANWHILE…. David Perlmutter, a professor of mass communications at LSU, hocks up the same furballs all the old cats do about blogs in the house organ of the old, Editor & Publisher. Hey, professor, haven’t you heard: “Mass” communications is dead.
: A commenter who woke up on the wrong side of the bed this week says I should disclose for the hundredth time that I’m consulting for The New York Times Company at About.com. I have nothing to do with the editorial page of the paper nor them with me.