Why are we all doing this? Why, why, why? Why are we subjecting ourselves to the intimate scrutiny of others? People blog things they would never tell strangers or enemies. They accept the praise and suffer the insults of the ornery citizenry. Some wanna get out. What is the point of all this?
It’s really cool that blogs have become discussion areas. It’s publishing and its community all at once and it is fantastically successful at it. It’s almost what I envisioned the Nets to be in the Ender’s Game world — a virtual, chaotic debate forum where issues of the day are decided. Personalities are born and have influence and gain power solely through their participation, perhaps anonymously, in the discussion. The discussion is now largely online and largely in the blogsphere.
Attention is doled out meagerly. Very few people read most blogs. Yet in an instant someone can link to an obscure blog post on slashdot or digg or the dialykos and, boom, a zillion visits a day and a possible revenue stream.
A revenue stream. This is probably music to most of our ears. Financial independence from blogging is certainly compelling for most and possible for some. But selling ads is not necessarily the business many of us want to be in.
But even without zillions of visitors, many blogs make an impact. Local impact that isn’t local. The interconnections are like neurons, making the connections themselves just as important as what they are connecting. This is a chorus.
Where will that lead…? I don’t know. This discussion has started in a deeper way than could be achieved prior to the present day Internet. As the capabilities expand, I suspect the discussion taking place “online” will be virtually the only discussion taking place. I don’t mean, of course, to say that people won’t meet in person or engage in normal daily intercourse, but the debates of the future, on policy, and politics, will occur in what the blogsphere will become, whatever that is. There will always be big media companies but their influence will be muted. We have people on the ground now.
So I think we do this to change the fucking world. You talking about your cat and me getting mad at creationists or talking about astronomy is going to change the world. The game is on. Slowly, painfully, with many steps backward along the way, we have a real forum for ideas now.
Someday we will have a President of the United States who gained their influence solely through their interactions with the public network.
We blog to change the world.