Saturday, July 24, 2004

The Boston Blog-athon

So what is this whole blogging thing anyway?

Many of you know by now, but for those that don't, "blog" is short for "web log" and has taken on meaning as both a noun and verb. (We have yet to see it as an adjective, but perhaps we can start it here and now - "dude, you're so blog.")

More blog-speak: one who blogs is a blogger, the collective act is called blogging and the virtual world in which one blogs is the blogosphere.

The beauty of a blog, of course, is that any Joe Schmo can start one, just talk about anything he cares to and, potentially, the whole world could read it. So blogs are basically online diaries, but because they're on the Internet, an interactive medium, readers can react by writing comments. See below where it says POST COMMENT? Go ahead, post away (the one with the daily punctuation and grammatical "suggestions" is probably my mom). That's part of the point. It's not just about us, it's about your reaction to us as well. You react to us, we react to you, it's an ongoing Choose Your Own Adventure novel.

So why all the fuss about bloggers at the Democratic National Convention? Well, for one it's never been done before. This is the first post-blog convention and, therefore, the first to credential bloggers. Conventional wisdom (c'mon, you knew it was coming) has it that conventions don't make news anymore so the media has zeroed in on the blogger phenomenon as a story. (They're resentful at having to call John Kerry "presumptive Democratic nominee" when everyone knows he's going to be nominated and accept.) But in point of fact, it is a story. The blogging of the convention is a continuation of the story of the marriage of the Internet and politics that made the Howard Dean campaign such a phenomenon last year and such a media darling (except for that part when they ripped him down off the pedestal they created, yeah that was neat.) This marriage revolutionized politics, especially that of the left wing. The Internet has helped to energize and unite the left, perhaps the same way radio energized the right, and it has helped bring Democrats the closest they have ever been to fundraising parity with Republicans.

But what's funny about some of the coverage of blogging is the sort of condescension with which the media treats this new medium. They acknowledge its power - oft cited is the impact of the blogosphere on the escalation of the story of Trent Lott's praise for Strom Thurmond leading to his downfall as Senate Majority Leader - but there's sarcasm there as well, as though they resent the fact that bloggers are going to the big show when they haven't paid their dues.

Check out this snarky wired.com article: Blogging Against Convention

"What's most telling is that of the 15,000 members of the media expected to cram the Fleet Center -- assuming they will clear security in time -- 35 of them will be bloggers, a statistically insignificant 0.2 percent. There are a higher percentage of gays voting for Bush than that."

In fact, while only 35 were granted "blogger credentials," many more will be blogging from the Fleet Center, ourselves included. Check out the list here:

"Convention Bloggers Named" from www.cyberjournalist.net

and here:

Convention Bloggers: A Community Site for Bloggers Participating in the DNC

But perhaps the real root of the media's antagonism toward bloggers is that there's no editing, no oversight and no mandate to be objective (Fox News excepted) in the blogosphere. Let's face it - they're jealous. And they're trying to get in on the act:

CNN 'Blogwatch' Press Release from www.turnerinfo.com

We don't know what we'll be bringing you on this site, obviously, since it hasn't happened yet and this is our first convention, but we're excited to be a part of it. Not only to be a part of the convention, but to be a part of the sort of coming out party for this new medium. We hope to do justice not only to "the blog" but to our readers as well and look forward to seeing what sorts of behind the scenes, under the radar, off the beaten path snippets of the story we can find to write about, both inside and outside the Fleet Center.

Hope you'll come along for the ride.

1 Comments:

Blogger Renzo182 said...

Dudes, you're so blog! Give 'em hell, Todd and Dave!

A Democratic haiku:
U.S. needs freedom
Wild D Ride answers the call
Rad trip to Boston

9:34 PM  

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