Dave Pollard on the role of bloggers in the media and how to improve it.
The fact that leading writers and journalists know we bloggers exist, and take the time to thank us and clarify their thoughts (and ours) in correspondence with us, comes as something of a surprise to me. It is at once sobering and flattering that we even appear on their radar screens — there are, after all, millions of us, and, at least in this corner of the blogosphere, we’re not even A-listers.
I think in fact we play a much more important role in the media than we might think. That role is a result of the power of our networks, which are more dynamic, sensitive and agile than those of print journalists and book writers. We can sense quickly and effectively when there’s something happening — a shift in public consciousness or attitude, a new issue or idea gaining traction — because of our connectedness, because of the strength of weak ties and those ties’ ability to create at least small tipping points. If the mainstream media are the stomach of the media beast, its power plant, we are its antennae.
Richard makes a great point about this:
I find it interesting that the most of the items have to do with private communication. A lot of bloggers eschew private communication because either they are used to publishing their thoughts online or they have an interest—financial or otherwise—in encouraging public discussion rather than private. The really good bloggers, Pollard seems to be arguing, do leg work in and put effort into their weblog conversations privately so as to create sparks that light the fires of public conversations.
Harry Pierson writes about information overload.
I posted yesterday that I’m reading over 200 blogs these days. Those aren’t Scoble numbers (is he over 700 yet?) but there sure is a lot of noise. It reminds me of when I first joined Microsoft – there was so much information available and I wanted to read it all. So I went through several cycles of signing up for a bunch of distribution lists, getting to the point where I wasn’t really reading them, then removing myself. I think I’m at that point for reading blogs.
700? Actually, Robert Scoble says he now reads “more than 1200 RSS feeds” but he can’t handle it.
Al Giordano writes at the Blogging of the President about narrative and blogging:
To paraphrase what they tell us in Day One of freshman writing classes: “Don’t tell them. Show them.” Kerry had moved from reciting a resume to telling a story. And I thought, finally, after 22 years of Kerry’s narrative of winning elections by closing at the 11th hour, Barone has found words to explain why that happens. I said to myself, “It’s the narrative, stupid!” Kerry always closes in the days when the campaign shifts from resumes to narrative.
When we confront the task of The Blogging of the President 2004, we shouldn’t forget that blogging is merely another way of conducting “The Writing of the President.” That’s why a typewriter, and not a keypad, works really well for that blog’s logo. It hearkens back to the more authentic roots than the techno-enthusiasm of today. And why I think that the blogged Campaign Notesfrom Sunday by Chris Lydon and Matt Stoller, reporting from Iowa – complete with MP3 audio files of the closing stump speeches of the two big winners, the two Johns, Kerry and Edwards – serves, to date, as my nomination for the single most important blog entry on this campaign so far.
Why? Because the blog entry stood out in that told a story: It was narrative, that gave me, the reader, a better glimpse of what was happening on the ground than any Commercial Media or other blog report.
I continue to be reminded that blogging is not a safe space for me. There’s no common understanding, common ground. Even when i build up the gall to post what’s on my mind, i’m deconstructed based on what’s not said. My blog is not an academic paper. I’m not reflexively positioning myself every time i post. I’m not fleshing out all of that which i feel should be assumed simply because this is MY blog, MY post. I take a lot for granted and i only wish that people would realize that these posts are constructed in the context of me. I’m not trying to be a journalist; i’m not trying to address an unknown population from an unknown position. I’m trying to share my thoughts, ideas, life from my perspective.
Joi Ito is pimping blogs and blogging at Davos. Love it.
I explained that many of the media sites in other countries were receiving more visibility in the US and other countries from bloggers linking to them. I explained that media sites could do things like permalinks, trackbacks, ping pingers, syndication and other things to make them much more blog friendly. Being friendly with bloggers was going to be essential for them, I opined.
I think that I was generally well received and I think many of the participants will be reading blogs and looking at aggregators tonight.