Wednesday, September 24, 2008

State of the Blogosphere

Technorati is presenting an interesting series on the state of the blogosphere. Here is the introduction and the first two of five chapters. When I started this blog two years ago, there were about 80 million in the world. Now, Technorati counts over 130 million.


Anonymous said...

This is off topic but I thought you might enjoy SEIU's antics on the West Coast:

Anonymous said...

The Prevention of Ignorance And The Desire To Inform Others

Historically, information sources provided to American citizens were limited due to the few methods available to the public, such as radio, TV, or news print. And also this information was subject to being filtered and, in some cases, delayed. This occurred for a number of reasons, which included political ones.

Now, and with great elation, there is the internet, which can be rather beneficial for the average citizen.

Soon after the advent of the internet, web logs were created, that are termed ‘blogs’. At that time, about a decade ago, the blogs were referred to as personal journals or diaries visible on line. As time passed, blogs became a media medium, and blog communities evolved on topics that often were not often addressed in mainstream media. In addition, blogs provide immediate contributions by others, the readers of the posts of the blog authors, instead of the cumbersomeness of opinion and editorial pieces historically and not always presented in such media forms as newspapers. The authors of blogs vary as far as their backgrounds and intent of what they present are for specificially, just as with other media forms. Furthermore, they are not exonerated from the legalities of what is written, such as cases of libel. While we can presume that they like to write, they may not be quality writers. But to write is to think, which I believe is a good quality one should have.

Yet presently, blogs have become quite a driving force for those with objectives often opposed by others, and are a threat to others at times, such as big business and politicians- both who presently monitor the progress and content of blogs that provide instant information on events, which might affect their image and activities not yet exposed, as blogs have become a medium of disclosure by whistleblowers, and what is written is typically authentic.

While one disadvantage of blogs is the potential lack of reliability, blogs however do allow in addition to the comments of its readers the posting of authentic documents that typically are not created to be viewed by the public. For example, blogger Dr. Peter Rost, a whistleblower himself, not long ago posted a newsletter published by pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca on his blog site, and this newsletter was given to him by AstraZeneca's employees who called themselves the ‘AZ Group of Seven’, with the intent of this group being to bring to the attention of others the illegal activity of off-label promotion of one of their cancer drugs promoted by thier employer. Yet this by suprise is not what caught the attention of so many who viewed the posted newsletter read with great interest by others. It was instead a comment included in this newsletter that was stated by former regional AZ manager Mike Zubalagga, who in this newsletter posted on Dr Rost's blog site, referred to doctors’ offices as ‘buckets of money’. This and other statements by this man were written during an interview with him by another and then published in this newsletter. Again, the statement was authentic and in writing in this newsletter, which added credibility to the proof that it actually happened.

Mr. Zubalagga was fired the next day due to this comment and it's potential effect on the image of his employer. His manager resigned soon afterwards.

And there have been other whistleblower blog cases in addition to this one, so blogs have become a very powerful and threatening medium of information release that does not allow others to prevent such releases. This is true freedom of information- free of alteration or omission. One step closer to a form of communication utopia, perhaps, and with the ability to both harm and protect others.

Yet again, the information on these blogs should not be taken as absolute truth without proof to verify claims that may be made. Of course, documents that are authentic will be realized by others, as illustrated with the above example. And this, in my opinion, is the blog’s greatest value, combined with the comments on blogs from the growing number of readers who are allowed to contribute to the subject matter so quickly, which fuels the objectives of the blogs. Like other written statements, some on such internet sites are composed with respect of the written word. Others are not. It's the freedom that may be most appealing of this new medium which has the ability to convert citizens into journalists who want to contribute to an issue of thier concern they share with the blogger.

Because we, the public, have a right to know what we are entitled to know and what we want to know. This is especially true if the information could potentially be adverse to our well-being.

Ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is power.

“Information is the seed of an idea, and only grows when it’s watered.” --- Heinz V. Berger

Dan Abshear