Last night on Charlie Rose was a fairly interesting roundtable on blogging and the effect on media. If I could have only been there. But perhaps I can if I trackback. What was completely missing from the discussion were any technical aspects of why blogging is useful. It's not just the 'interactivity of the internet' it is the function that blog software provides to shape the behavior of people at keyboards. With only a passing reference to Technorati, Andrew Sullivan glossed over the possibilities of innovation and the moment was lost.
Secondly, and perhaps predictably, most of the focus was on the conflict between MSM and the 'sphere. While they were right to note that the blogosphere is growing at the expense of political magazines and television, I don't think enough focus was given to democracy itself. Perhaps they remain convinced of the Diebold scandal's ability to scare people away from digital democracy, but the real power is going to be getting people to vote early and often.
It is more than campaign finance reform that this medium is capable of achieving. It is the very process of governing - the nuts and bolts of taking minutes and calling the question. The core aspects of deliberation.
If I could be famous for anything, I would like it to be for XRepublic. If I had a million dollars, I could retire and start working on it. Every year I promise to do a little bit more work on it and every year I push it only few inches further. And yet year after year it seems that the world is ready for what I believe to be my best idea whose realization eludes me. I need encouragement, and programming assistance. XRepublic can be the revolution that the blogosphere needs to take it to the next level.
I would hope that those of you who might feel that the blogosphere is the realization, should read on in my (scanty but substantially inspired) XRepublic & Digital Democracy section. This is the destiny we seek.
At American Digest, Gerard goes into some depth about the processes and practices behind the best bloggers, specifically how tools like Google as well as desktop productivity software enable, extend and expand the 'note-taking' discipline common to journalists. It may seem arcane, but there are software professionals somewhere who are responsive to the needs and requirements of these very intellective acts. And so it goes for every discipline for which software is designed.
The point is that it is not just blog software and 'the internet' but a kind of softwarey-augmented discipline in the hands of millions that make the magic.
Even in the blog world, there are different levels of technical expression. LiveJournal -> TypePad -> MT -> WordPress to full blown CMS. What needed to be expressed was that content managment software has become relatively commodified, and in the hands of millions, it has generated a powerful capability. But there is much more software out there waiting to come down in price and up in usability which will create many spheres and powerful and as influential as the blogosphere. Or if one likes the blogosphere, think of the blogosphere growing more arms and legs and pressing other industries besides journalism.