Blogging is Advanced Netizenship

The concept of “citizen publishing” is one I heard originally from Ripples. It inspires images of any person being allowed to say what he wants to say without some corporation or government telling him he needs to conform to rules and regulations or satisfy some shareholders or appeal to some mass market. Naturally some people may not have much to say compared to others, but that just gives people the incentive to blog greatly. People read blog posts by Seth Godin because he is not only an authority in his area but also writes about important and compelling things. On the other hand, if someone blogs about inane things or makes stale arguments, it is less likely to be read. But the nature of blogs is that he’s still there, and if someone wants to listen to him, he/she can.

To paraphrase a line from The American President, blogging is advanced netizenship. You can post in an IRC channel, and within minutes your comments are gone, possibly remembered in some obscure log file. You can post in a web forum, among all the other posts there. Eventually it can drown out. But your blog is the online extension of yourself. Your commentary. Your views. Your growth experiences. People may have different opinions, but you have yours.

From Playing With Fire:

When we engage in blogging, we are playing with fire. We are harnessing the power of open communication in ways which will shape our future in ways we can’t even imagine.

To drive this point home, you should realize when we blog about something, we actually change our future in respect to that area on the fly. Now, if that isn’t that a sobering thought, what is?

Sobering indeed. Each blog post has the power to change viewpoints, politics, public opinion, and trust levels, and wielding such power should give people pause. One of the things analysts will tell you is that while blogging has had the power to topple major mainstream news figures and politicians, it is also something to be wary of. Someone may post something erroneous, and the nature of blogging is that it will spread like fire.

Of course, what this fails to take into account is how fast corrections can be spread as well. Print newspapers have to wait a day to post a correction, and the correction will usually be buried in some 12th page or something. Bloggers making corrections are front and center. Still, the concept of any one person being able to cause such a massive ripple through the World Wide Web, of any one person being able to publish his/her information to the world without placating some commercial publisher, of individuals all having so much more power than before is awesome. Nothing has probably had as much inspiring discussion about it as when the idea of “government of the people, by the people, for the people” was first introduced.