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Weblogs Become Op-Ed Fodder, But First…

:: I’m staring at the CNN web site, refreshing it every few minutes, waiting for them to project Bush the winner in the US federal election. How bloody depressing. I’ve never been very political, but my feeling is that the United States, home to many relatives and great friends of mine, is becoming more and more myopic, unable to see past their own border, unaware that life exists outside the 48 contiguous states. This changes only when something is to be gained elsewhere, such as oil in Iraq. The rest of Planet Earth can’t stand Bush; what can we expect now through to 2008?

I can’t for the life of me understand why Americans would re-elect him. Did he win by playing the fear card? Elect me, or OSB and his posse will kill you and your family? He’s sending their children to their deaths in Iraq, which is quickly becoming another Vietnam. More jobs were lost in his four years in office than were created, and his administration has little regard for the environment. But hey, he’s back in again – at least, it sure looks like it. Then again, I live in Alberta, which has voted the right into power for the last, lessee, gajillion years. To my American friends who didn’t vote for Bush, you have my sympathies and condolences. To those who suggested to me you might want to move to Canada, please do so as quickly as you can make the necessary arrangements.

:: Today’s NYTimes’ Op-Ed page opens as follows:

Every very four years, by journalistic if not political tradition, the presidential election must be accompanied by a “revolution.” So what transformed politics this time around? The rise of the Web log, or blog. The commentary of bloggers – individuals or groups posting daily, hourly or second-by-second observations of and opinions on the campaign on their own Web sites – helped shape the 2004 race. The Op-Ed page asked bloggers from all points on the political spectrum to say what they thought was the most important event or moment of the campaign that, we hope, comes to an end today.

This is a major acknowledgement and endorsement of the impact of blogging. The rest of the “editorial”, featuring comments from 12 bloggers, is here.

In my own, tiny world, I’ve been helping student groups in 4th-year mechanical and chemical engineering design classes set up blogs for their project management. For them, the blog becomes a powerful tool to manage their work and progress, freeing up valuable time that would otherwise be spent sending multiple e-mails, making phone calls, setting up meetings, and the like. Only a very small number of the estimated 8-10 million blogs in existence have become influential enough to reach a place as important as the NYT Op-Ed page. Most live in the expanding blogosphere, like the ones I just described, maintained by single or multiple authors, created for fun, or for a specific purpose. I’ve been at this for >2.5 years, and it’s still fun.

2 Responses to “Weblogs Become Op-Ed Fodder, But First…”

  1. Kgo Says:

    I blame some of this on fear mongering by social conservatives. This editorial published in the village voice pretty much sums it all up:

  2. darcy Says:

    Well…here’s how I think it works.

    You spend…let’s see..about a decade creating a popular culture that glamorizes ignorance, lack of education, and stupidity. Then you capitalize on that by brainwashing the public with lies and misinformation, and stirring up a fearful defensive reponse by insisting that the rest of the world is against them and if they ask questions they are “unamerican”. Don’t forget to increasingly blur the lines between church and state so you can take the moral “high ground” in all areas of national and international policy. Stir in a little smear campaign here and there by “independent” 527s aaannnddd….there you go.

    Course it doesn’t hurt when your opponent runs an ineffective campaign and, instead of capitalizing on how your weaknesses are his strengths, assumes people will just “get it”

    aarrggghhh don’t get me started…..

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