Sunday, November 27, 2005

Blog Wars

If you've been reading the blogs this holiday weekend, you've probably seen that in the absence of any riveting news like we've been treated to lately, the Blogosphere has gone metapalooza. Armando must have gotten happy drunk and announced "the new Armando." People pissed off at dKos for a variety of reasons are flocking to BooMan Tribune and bashing dKos. BooMan then gets frustrated that many Kossacks are using his site, started out of his frustration with dKos, to bash dKos. And locally SoapBlox Chicago is wondering what to do with Rich Miller's new "both sides of the isle" centrist group blog Illinoize.

It shocks me that none of these blogger has in any way consulted me for my opinion on these matters. But being that I'm a guy with a blog, I thought I'd offer my own damn opinion anyway, and jump on the metapalooza holiday weekend navel gazing theme with my lint brush and flashlight in tow:

Boys and girls, the Blogosphere is a big place. But reading the blogs one might miss that. You get familiar with bloggers and blogs and then jump to the conclusion that you know these people. Newsflash: you don't know a blogger just because you read what he/she writes. I've read Kos for three years now and what I think I know about Marcos and his motivations is based on nothing more than what I read on his blog. Sometimes I agree with him. Sometimes I don't. Some times I think he's sold out. Some times I read just for the pie.

If you form your opinion of me based on what you read at this blog you probably think I'm a vein popping pissed off condescending prick with, based on my spelling, an 8th grade education. Actually I'm a fairly shy introspective guy with a Masters degree who is a terrible proof reader, especially without an editor.

I love blogs and think they have the potential to change politics and the way we get our information. Blogs that offer opinions that stir debate will flourish if they provide an environment in which debate can occur. Threaded comments, open minds, thoughtful writing attract readers. Pissing matches, pie fights, and one-upmanship in linear comment threads get old fast.

The Blogosphere is a great place. But it's still the wild west out here. Standards are hardly set yet, but the next person who calls for a committee on blogger ethics I will personally troll rate into oblivion. Remember blogs are written by journalists, insiders, grassroots activist, grad students, knuckle draggers, and even guys like me in the suburbs. They are a hybrid of media, serving editorial and reporting vantage points simultaneously, often in the same post. They evolve over time as their authors get better at their craft, increase their readership, become popular, or as their founders change their minds about opinions they once held.

Because blogging is instant publishing, post are written quickly, thoughtfully, thoughtlessly, in the heat of battle, in the dead of night, while drunk, while pissed, while sad, while joyous, and al without the benefit of an editor. Just remember how easily it is to take an email the wrong way, and multiply that by 100 for a blog post. Blogging is an imperfect medium, offering anonymity, a stage, and a microphone. Everyone has a blog and an opinion these days. And you know what they say about opinions.

So relax. The Blogosphere is a big place. There's plenty of room at the table. If you don't like the table, build your own.