Saheli*: Musings and Observations
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
 
A Small Group of Conspirators

Armchair Generalist has a fascinating post on how using the progressive blogosphere to build better strategy---better strategy to win elections, and better strategy to secure the nation.
. . .it's up to us progressive bloggers to figure out how to get the media and the Dem politicians involved in creating our own "perfect storm," at least in developing and articulating a national security strategy, a national military strategy, and a foreign policy that are all distinct and superior to the Repub versions. Many of the left-leaning national security blogs out there tend to focus on foreign policy - We also need a distinct military strategy as well to articulate to the public how we intend to fix the military after Bush is done abusing it. To that end, a small group of conspirators met at Capital City Brewery-Union Station last night to discuss just that issue. (emphasis mine)
I'm not really sure I believe in blogs as substitutes for media any more. Everyone loves to talk about blogs as a threatening new form that takes market share away from old forms. If blogs take market share from any particular form of media, it's books, particularly fiction--I read a lot more magazine and newspaper articles in blogospheric hunts than I did previously, and a distressingly decreasing number of novels. The problem is, people expect blogs to do whatever it is they will settle into quickly, and I don't think that's realistic. Economists apparently wrote off computers as contributing much to national productivity throughout the19 80s, because they just didn't seem to be doing anything. Then the 1990s happened. Airplanes were invented in 1903, but it was a good 50 years before commercial flight became a remotely normal experience. We're not such good prognosticators.

What blogs are good at--much better at than any "old media" or even most websites--is connecting people and building little tiny overlapping communities. Bit by bit I am meeting bloggers whose work I read. I often exchange email with some of you commenters whom I've never met, and there's a growing list of towns across America where, if I visit, I would definitely let you know I was around. I've connected with people in the comments section of other blogs. I know this is all now commonplace among similarly sized blogs--from the crustaceans to the flappy birds to the smaller mammals of the ecosystem. But by naturally getting to know each other in a wide variety of contexts--the contexts provided by the highly variable subject matter of even the most focused blogs--people can find their co-conspirators.

Whether its for politcal action, a social service, or great art, people need others to conspire with. I don't think this is a process that can be rushed or automated, which is frustrating for the CPU-prophets of technology. It's a process that is seemingly inefficient. A lot of seemingly promising conspiracy meetings are going to dry up, a lot of correspondences are going to die. I'm not sure what it will lead to. But if we don't give up on the process--if we stick to it and respect it--I think it will be very interesting.
 


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Saheli Datta started this when she was a journalism student at Columbia in New York. Now she lives in the Bay Area. *Old people call me R. New people, call me Saheli. Thanks! My homepage. Specifically, my links. Email me: Saheli [AT] Gmail [dot] Com

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Blogs I Read (Or Try To)
113th Street
american footprints(Nadezhda & Praktike)
ANNA's Diary
Apartment Therapy
Armchair Generalist
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
Dave Barry
The Bellman
Mine's On The 45 (Brimful)
Campaign Desk (CJR)
ChennaiCentral
ClimateBoy
Combing the Sphere
Crooked Timber
Daily Dose of Imagery
The Daily Rhino (Bong Breaker)
Dark Days Ahead
The Decembrist
Brad DeLong
Atanu Dey on India's Development (Deeshaa)
Daniel Drezner
Ennis
Ephemera
Cyrus Farivar
Finding My Voice
Forsv
Neil Gaiman
Ganesh Blog
Geeky Chic 2.0 (Echan)
Geomblog
Green Ink!
Heliolith
Alexandra Huddleston
Iddybud (Jude Nagurney Camwell)
Indeterminacy
India Uncut
InSpiteOfEverything
Intel Dump: Phillip Carter et al
The Intersection (Chris Mooney)
Jesus Politics
John and Belle Have a Blog
Mark A. R. Kleiman
KnowProse (Taran Rampersad)
1Locana
Maenad (Nori Heikkinen)
Scott McCloud
Mind Without Borders
Electrolite: Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Corey Pein
Political Animal(Kevin Drum, formerly Calpundit)
Kevin G. Powell
QuakeHelp (South Asian Quake)
Radiation Persuasion (Nick)
Reneebop
Rhinocrisy
Scott Rosenberg(Salon.com)
Rox Populi
Felix(&Rhian)Salmon
samVaad
Nick Schager
Idea Spout: Daniel Sanchez
Sepia Mutiny
Amardeep Singh
Snarkmarket (Robin Sloan & Matt Thompson)
South-East Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Blog
SreeTips: New To Sree
Steprous (Bear)
Robert Stribley
Subjunctive.net:klog
Talking Points Memo: Joshua Micah Marshall
Tech Policy
TiffinBox
A Tiny Revolution
To The Teeth
TreeHugger
Unfogged
VatulBlog
Venk@
Manish Vij
Vinod's Blog
War and Piece
Nollind Whachell
Wonkette
WorldChanging
Matthew Yglesias:Old
Yglesias:Tpmcafe
Zoo Station:Reuben Abraham
Ethan Zuckerman
Zwichenzug



Some Categories

Blogs focusing on policy, politics, and national security:
Armchair Generalist
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
The Decembrist
Brad DeLong
Daniel Drezner
Eschaton(Atrios)
Green Ink!
Iddybud (Jude Nagurney Camwell)
Idea Spout: Daniel Sanchez
Informed Comment: Juan Cole
Intel Dump: Phillip Carter
The Intersection (Chris Mooney)
Irregular Analyses
Jesus Politics
Mark A. R. Kleiman
Liberals Against Terrorism(Nadezhda & Praktike)
Political Animal(Kevin Drum, formerly Calpundit)
Talking Points Memo: Joshua Micah Marshall
War and Piece
Wonkette
Yglesias:Tpmcafe

Photo Blogs
Daily Dose of Imagery
Ephemera
Alexandra Huddleston
Radiation Persuasion (Nick)
TiffinBox

Columbia Journalism Folks
Apartment Therapy
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
Campaign Desk (CJR)
Ranajit Dam
Cyrus Farivar
Alexandra Huddleston
InSpiteOfEverything
Corey Pein
Nick Schager
Zoo Station:Reuben Abraham

Literature, Fiction and Entertainment
Dave Barry
Neil Gaiman
Electrolite: Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Scott McCloud


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