Wednesday, February 27, 2002

A GOOD BLOG ARTICLE
Most attempts by mainstream media to understand the Blog explosion fail because the writers don't take it seriously. They figure if Bloggers had something worthwhile to say, they'd have a real media jobs. Blog This, by Henry Jenkins from the MIT Technology Review, is one of the first articles to get it. Jenkins understands that Blogs represent an important grass roots alternative in a world where media power is forever being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.

He writes - Ultimately, our media future could depend on the kind of uneasy truce that gets brokered between commercial media and these grass-roots intermediaries. Imagine a world where there are two kinds of media power: one comes through media concentration, where any message gains authority simply by being broadcast on network television; the other comes through grass-roots intermediaries, where a message gains visibility only if it is deemed relevant to a loose network of diverse publics. Broadcasting will place issues on the national agenda and define core values; bloggers will reframe those issues for different publics and ensure that everyone has a chance to be heard.

It may seem strange to imagine the blogging community as a force that will shape the information environment almost as powerfully as corporate media. We learn in the history books about Samuel Morse's invention of the telegraph but not about the thousands of operators who shaped the circulation of messages, about Thomas Paine's Common Sense but less about the "committees of correspondence" through which citizens copied and redistributed letters across the colonies, about the publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe's abolitionist blockbuster Uncle Tom's Cabin but not about the teenagers who used toy printing presses to publish nationally circulated newsletters debating the pros and cons of slavery. In practice, the evolution of most media has been shaped through the interactions between the distributed power of grass-roots participatory media and the concentrated power of corporate/governmental media.

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