Sunday, January 13, 2013
Is The Blogosphere Now A “Social Media Militia” or Has It Been Co-opted?
The term blogosphere, the universe of discourse, was first coined in 1999, according to that Wikipedia link, and then it was revived in 2002, about the time I took up blogging for myself. The mainstream media (MSM) began eyeing the blogosphere in seriousness sometime in 2004, at least as far as I have determined, as also evidenced here.
In the ten years from 2002 to 2012, there is no doubt that the blogosphere has become a force for dissemination of information not controlled by the MSM, but is the blogosphere losing its edge, or is the blogosphere gaining even more legitimacy?
Two recent blog posts cast some light on this subject. One, posted at Samizdata by Brian Mickelthwait and titled A libertarian meeting at my home on the last Friday of this month, posits that the blogosphere, and blogs, are somewhat losing their edge, as articulated as follows.
And now, they have adapted. Oh, not all of them. All technological transformations involve losers who slink away into self-imposed retirement. But enough regular media folk have now embraced the new internetted world, a process reinforced by the latest generation of social media activity – Facebook, Twitter and so on – which many old school media folks have used with enthusiasm to leapfrog back into the game.
The result of all this is a media landscape which, although infinitely more varied at its edges and in its details, is now in many ways nearer, in its intellectual content and overall political mix, to what it was at the end of the twentieth century. Having so recently being an exuberant, joyous end-run, blogging for us libertarians has now become something of a struggle…
Micklethwait also notes that a rising number of blogs are becoming group blogs, and are rising in importance, relatively speaking that is.
Another viewpoint on the blogosphere’s importance, and its changing relevance as a social media medium, is articulated in a recent post at Legal Insurrection titled A “social media militia” can preserve our liberties today. In this post, the writer, Leslie Eastman, considers the Tea Party, and how blog networking has had an effect on political processes, which leads Eastman to state that blogs and bloggers should “form our own “social media militias”.”
I do think the blogosphere has been effective in battling the spoon feeding of “approved” information which the MSM disseminates. It remains to be seen, I think, how effective the blogosphere will remain going forward.