Like almost everyone, when I first stumbled into the expanding universe of the Blogosphere, I felt like I was living some Bob Dylan lyrics: something was happening and I didn’t know what it was. So I read the Cluetrain Manifesto , a truly important book that defines markets as conversations-- a thought both fundamental and important.
I’ve just finished reading Dan Gillmor’s extraordinary “We the Media,” blogging's second vitally important book. Gillmor escorts readers through the incredible string of events that have occurred in blogging over the past few years. He maintains the objective analysis of a seasoned journalist; the analytic commentary of a thoughtful columnist; and the unbridled enthusiasm for blogging' promise.
Blogging has not yet changed newswriting and distribution in the eyes of traditional journalism or Big media as he calls them, but he lays down compelling and mounting evidence evidence that inevitably will. Journalism has been practiced for centuries from a broadcast model a one-or few-to many recipients. Today, the power of the press, to paraphrase AJ Liebling, is remains in the hands of those few who own one. They assign reporters to cover events and then filter it through editors before distributing. It’s one-directional. They're the experts and we're the readers. If you disagree with what the best you can do is submit a letter to the editor which they will consider printing.
Enter the tools of blogging. Suddenly, it's cheap, fast and easy for anyone to publish. It's no longer one way broadcasting, but it's interactive--a conversation from many people to many people. The journalist is no longer the expert, but merely the generator of a conversation. As Gillmor often says, his readers collectively are smarter than he is. Gillmor also takes the picture of text blogs on PCs into the near-term future where pictures, audio and video blogs will pervade, not just on PCs but on handhelds and cell phones. The people of the world become the reporters of the world, which as the title implies, is Gillmor's central point, as the title implies.
If you're a blogger, I encourage you strongly to read this book. I guarantee you will learn more about the impact and details of events you've already heard about—a lot more. If you don’t blog, I urge you also to read this book. There is something happening and you need to know what is.