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July 25, 2006

The "Echo Chamber"

Recently, there has been a big push to change the way blogging works. Much of what is currently done takes an existing story or blog post and, essentially, repeats it. Vivian Paige has worked hard to try to change this, encouraging some original posting by many blogs with F.T. Rea of SLANTblog appearing to be a big inspiration for her. After giving this some thought though, I am not sure I agree with them.

While blogging has been around for some time, years before the last presidential election, it picked up fast with Rathergate. It should be obvious how this worked; a couple blogs picked up on the skepticism, and with enough analysis and "echoing", it came to light that the Killian documents were forgeries. The rest, as they say, is history. A number of similar cases have followed, though none as big as Rathergate. A few more popular blogs can put up a couple posts and get a lot of attention, but the real power comes through when many blogs are talking about the same thing.

Bloggers enjoy first amendment rights that they share with journalists; however, blogging is more of a testament towards democracy. The voices that come together on a common goal are able to see their hopes accomplished; audiences are essentially combined and can all speak together. I applaud the efforts of bloggers to add some new insights online with untouched topics, but these hit only small niches most often. And yes, a lot of the echo chamber may still not do much to impact the way some people think. However, united for a cause, bloggers are more effective than divided.