Effra, the first commenter on this story at Harry’s Place says most of the things I’ve felt about punk for the past twenty-plus years. She does so as she compares that musical movement of late seventies to this Web movement of the mid-noughties. She’s right about punk, but her assessment of ‘Blogging is about as farsighted as the view favoured by journos about ten years ago that email for non-scientists was like CB radio for non-truckers—just a nerdy craze.
If you only read Anglo political/media ‘Blogs you’re not just missing the point of modifiable Webpages (of which ‘Blogs are a small subset), you’re so late to the game you don’t understand the rules at all. Dismissing ‘Blogs on the basis of examples like Harry’s Place (and PooterGeek) as inconsequential, middle-class, white-boy wank is like dismissing the novel as a girly fad on the basis of reading chick lit. While we’re looking at our hitcounters and sipping our coffee and bitching at each other, there are people using this medium to share real information and create lasting repositories of scholarship. Many others are using it to fight for the liberation of their countries—and they are so effective in doing so that the regimes they protest against are prepared to lock them up to stop them.
This piece about Wikipedia [via Boing Boing, via Slashdot] explains why, in this new wikiworld, merit triumphs over authority—Wikipedia beats Britannica;good ‘Blogger beats bad newspaper editor. That is the main reason ‘Blogs are better than punk. If you want to succeed as a ‘Blogger, hype will get you exactly nowhere. Unlike the punk band member, the ‘Blogger must be competent and engaging to get an audience. Gobbing at people under the guidance of a music biz svengali who went to the same public [private] school as the journalist writing about your gig is not enough.