Anyone would have trouble coining a phrase that as of today has over 600 million Google hits. Nevertheless, my title remains a salient question to be asked by any budding writer in the 21st century, or one just catching up to the end of the 20th.
I remember the first time I was introduced to the phrase ‘weblog’ in undergrad. It was by an English student who was on top of all things technological, something I hadn’t managed to do since public school. Since then, I’ve always toyed with the idea but could never get around to doing it. It certainly wasn’t for lack of time. Looking back, if I’d only blocked Freetetris.org from my computer, I’m sure I would be king among bloggers by now. Come to think of it, if I’d only blocked Tetris three or four years ago, I’d probably have a degree in chemical engineering or theoretical physics.
It will be said by the luddites that the internet only fragments opinion. What it actually does is increase the potential for a diverse set of opinions to reach an audience. To be sure, there will be falsehood and slander, all of the joys that come with opinions or beliefs. But proportionally speaking, there is no less crap on the internet than has been bound into book, or put onto the silver screen.
(Although if it is crap you’re after, here’s a link to my friend Remi’s site.)
From an epistemological point of view, we are not going to reach a desirable objectivity by relying on large, privately-owned and increasingly centralized news corporations, any more than we are by listening to state sponsored media. The age of the Imperial Encyclopaedia has long since past.
Having evolved to become a radically potent force in media, blogs are just about the only semblance of democracy we have in our so-called ‘democratic’ society. We see the power of the internet, the blog and the ubiquitous camera recently on such disparate places as the streets of Tehran, as well as the town hall meetings of Main Street, USA.
Let us not fear, stifle, or deny the marketplace of ideas. Let us embrace this democratic technology as one of the few potent weapons in our arsenal against dogma, superstition and illegitimate authority.
We’re in this together, kids. I’ll get back to writing…after this quick game of Tetris.