Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Blog Concept

As I was watching public access television the other day, I watched a story about a couple of right wing bloggers who were announcing the enormous success that they had had with blogs for Bush. Popular partisan reinforcement of their own ideology was becoming ever more widespread, they had published a book based on their popular blog. How crazy that something online written by seemingly normal and non-powerful people could be so influential.

Both sides of partisan politics have certainly employed the use of blogs with a good deal of success and through it. On both sides of the political arena readers of all ideologies pinned to listening what they believe over and over again thus reinforcing what they already believed while also allowing them to tune out the corporate right or the spineless left. One unintended consequence of the rise in popularity of political blogs is that because people of the left and people on the right have become so concentrated in reading only blogs that conform to their opinions that it has allowed for a dramatically increased polarization in American Politics between the left and the right.

What a shame or not? What is the repercussions of this shift, has the world of blogs made things better by solidifying the left and the right into more solid units? I think probably so. Is this a good or bad thing? It goes both ways. In the negative sense the use of blogs has allowed for a "tunnel vision" for partisan folks to not be able to even comprehend what the other side is thinking. In this way its negative, we have gotten so far away from each other in ideology that from a democratic standpoint, all views are not considered by everyone before decisions are made. Thus, allowing for the erosion of democracy.

However, simultaneously political blogs are enhancing democracy and allowing for something really neat. The blogosphere gives everyone a potential voice to speak out about what they believe in the world and the way things are going. The blogosphrere allows for the main stream media to lose much of its power as news. Instead, 'the news' is written by everyday people instead of big companies who have their hands in whatever they have their hands in. While the mainstream media fumbles around trying to figure out what is 'objective and what is not' political bloggers write what ever they feel, allowing their political identity to fuse out of every facet of their imagination. Its amazing to see this power erode, while partisan politics allow their pundits to argue about whether the media is leaning toward the left or leaning to the right, a new media has a risen in the blog world. This media is unabashedly partisan and makes no claims about trying to be 'objective'.

The blog is like the person, and combined allows for a new type of online democracy to reign over.

It's interesting to see the paradox of the blog. In one way it acts to limit the idea of democracy while allowing people who believe one thing to just subscribe to what they already believe and create a "group think' like atmosphere. Yet it also gives the "power to the people" and completely erodes the power of the main stream media!

Crazy eh? With that said, if we use blogs right and read things that we both agree with and disagree with as our form of media, then maybe the paradox of group think that blogs create will be alleviated by creating a form of radical democracy.