Chad Orzel: “To the extent that I do believe that blogs will change society, I think it will be a different kind of change than readers of political blogs are looking for. Political blogs aren’t a new kind of journalism, they’re a new kind of punditry– they’re talk radio with lower barriers to entry.”
Amen to that.
One thing I’d add is that the only thing about blogging that’s fundamentally different from any other form of Web site in the entire history of the World Wide Web is that the person doing the writing doesn’t actually have to have any technical knowledge. As Teresa Nielsen Hayden has said, it used to be that there was some kind of barrier to making a nuisance of yourself in public. You either had to “learn how to run a mimeograph, and you had to pay postage to distribute your deatheless prose,” and the people who didn’t “found other hobbies.” The Web dramatically lowered the knowledge barrier to this kind of thing; blogging per se didn’t change anything — there have been personal journals on the Web since the earliest days of http — but blogging software changed much: It eliminated the need to know anything about HTML and Web site configuration and management.
The format changed by getting easier, the underlying essence did not. I am undecided as to whether this is, on the whole, a positive thing or not.
Update: Has it really been 11 years since Mosaic came out? Holy hell.