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Sunday, December 05, 2004

On Bloggers

By: Michael Akerman


The blogger is a strange creature. Still a new species, as yet still developing, it is nonetheless remarkably varied. The news bloggers write simple sentences, pointing out interesting factoids, as well as sensational stories. They don't particularly achieve much, but serve a valid purpose, as TV and Hollywood do, in entertaining the world. One could make a name for himself in this manner, but the field is currently saturated. In a few years, when the top dogs rise above the rest, people may know the big names (my prediction is Slashdot will remain the strongest contender).

A far more influential blogger is the citizen journalist. These are the techies who watch the news adamantly, and, more importantly, write the news themselves. These are the ones who were invited to the party conventions, who noticed the discrepancies in the Rathergate report. Already, stories originate here. Their inside sources contact them with a small tidbit, and, using considerable reserves of current events knowledge, they make the crucial connections that reveal the latest scandal or market-shifting force. A dangerous creature? Some say so, due to journalist bias, but I think they are only so to the people for which the mainstream media is a threat. Never take information uncontested at someone's word. Reserve the possibility that it's false.

Of course, there are the bloggers that merely bore me: the personal journalists. These are the majority, who blog about their latest trip to the mall, and how school went. They do no harm, of course, but they gain no fame, they leave little mark. The LiveJournals and Xangas are merely entertainment, a background noise, a soap opera. They fulfill their purpose well.

Growing in numbers are the artists (see Philip's Realtime Delay and the Pictoblog) who can both make an indelible mark on the world and entertain. The blogging poets and novelists, photographers and artists are recognized for their skill by a large audience.

The final major category is the essayist. This is, of course, what IVIC is about. The essayists, I think, make the most difference in the world. They are today's Aristotles, Platos, Sophocleses. Their ideas become your ideas, and they change the face of the world stage. These are the bloggers led in the growth of the blogosphere by such names as the Instapundit. Interestingly, IVIC follows a somewhat Instapundit vein, though I didn't know it when I started. Instapundit is becoming less essayist and more newsy, so perhaps glennreynolds.com (Glenn is the Instapundit) is a better example. Even better would be the Volokh Conspiracy. They both are in the blogroll.

What's more, essayists get noticed. IVIC has grown fairly quickly. We now have about 3500 hits. It took us about a month to get the first 100. At that rate, it would have taken 35 months to get 3500, but it's only been 16. I think we'll see even more rapid growth in the future. We've been mentioned recently on greensboroistalking.com (I don't live there anymore, but Ed and Smith do, so.... Incidentally, apparently there was a blog convention in Greensboro earlier this year. I wish I had known), and I think there'll be more mentions to come. Why? This is a rather unique blog. Most group blogs (there are a ton of 'em) have one political affiliation. It is merely a conservative or liberal group blog. IVIC spans the political spectrum, and I'm always looking for more members. If you find yourself disagreeing with everyone here, and are good at writing essays, drop me a line at drkashik(at)gmail.com. I'll look into adding you, after I see some of your work. Our Google PageRank's a-climbin'! Go ahead. Search for Michael Akerman on Google.

So, there you have it. The essayist is the most important blogger. Of course, I could be biased...

;-)

By my hand,
~Michael Akerman

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