A Better World Through Blogging

Like almost everyone else, I’ve been thinking about submitting to the CFP on blogging (now that the deadline is fast approaching).

Right now, I’m intrigued by questions about the social and political effects of blogging. Anne Galloway has linked to Adam Greenfield’s pessimistic reflection on whether or not IT have made the world a better place. He challenges readers to answer the following questions:

Is the planet as a whole detectably better-off in the wake of a decade of decentralized, low-cost-of-entry information availability? Are we better informed, less superstitious, more open-minded, more curious, stronger, less afraid? Do we make better choices?

My initial response is a slightly ambiguous yes. I’ll grant that corporations are getting richer and fatter. I’ll admit that the current global tensions have produced an increase in superstition and nationalism. But I do think the grassroots possibilities of IT, including blogs, have at least kept some of our bullies at bay (the “Star Wars Kid” is one example). Even though the FCC voted for deregulation, public outcry has encouraged Congress to consider repealing the FCC’s decision. Blogs and online news sources have helped disseminate information that mainstream news sources have either buried or distorted.

This isn’t the question I really wanted to address here. I’m still trying to think about the temporal linearity of the blog and how that informs the way we “think through” blogs. It does seem to privilege the ephemeral, the right now, over the eternal, the past. One of the results is the number of political bloggers (of all positions). I know that part of my attraction to the blogosphere was reading Salam Pax and others who were blogging about Iraq. I don’t think that all blogs or bloggers privilege immediacy over the long-term (Matt’s discussion of the digital archive is one example), but I’m fascinated by the temporal construction of blogs. I’m just not sure where to go with it.

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