Posted by: Opey | June 9, 2007

In Search of the Meaning of the Blogosphere

While walking to a downtown bar last night, inspiration struck.  As usual, me and my friend, Moze, were in the middle a pointless argument regarding media coverage of recent celebrity legal troubles (Michael Vick, Paris Hilton, etc.)  As generally happens, we both agreed that the mainstream media shouldn’t really concern themselves with the lives of these people, but we still managed to differ on our views of the minutiae.  The conversation took a sudden turn towards one of our favorite targets, Wolf Blitzer.  To make a long argument short, we started to talk about The Situation Room and their use of blogs and other Internet sources for some of their information.  Typically, for those who have not caught this wind bag style show, Wolf will discuss the issues of the day, maybe throw it to a reporter on the scene, and then often he will turn to one of his lackeys that will give him the report on what the blogosphere is saying.  Now, as someone who writes a blog, I believe that blogs are great tools for the dissemination of information that would not usually be available to the general public, but the use of blogs by major news agencies is a bit troubling for a few reasons.  Often times, pundits and commentators will point to the blogosphere as a single, cohesive unit.  They will act like it is one person out there writing about everything, much because they feel that their news agency is the only agency that exists.  The second, and more troubling, thing is that, by making use of blogs, channels such as CNN/Fox News/MSNBC are attempting to internalize these smaller, independent information sources.  They are trying to bring these bloggers under their sphere of influence, much in the same fashion as the large railroad monopolies would try to buy up smaller railroads during the era of Horizontal Integration.  In a similar vain, blog use by the CNNs of the world can be seen as a cost saving measure, for a company that doesn’t need to employ such tactics.  I am fully for the use of bloggers and other alternative media sources by smaller publications/media outlets for the purposes of decreasing costs, finding information not typically available, and for numerous other reasons.  It is the large companies, such as CNN/ABC/NBC/FOX, that should be careful with their use of blogs.  Blogs are a great source of information, because they are often independent and focused, but when the media conglomerates become involved in the blogosphere, then the problems arise.


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