Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Blogosphere

Richard Fernandez of PJM tries to analyse the Blogosphere and how it interacts with the MSM.

From his conclusion

The Internet revolution has created new structures of knowing, thinking and communicating. Those features are only now being exploited. They are destined to complement many aspects of the public intelligence system known as journalism over the next decade. The blogosphere contains potentially a very large number of information collectors, which raise events which occur in the physical world above a Horizon at which they become detectable on the Internet. It has also evolved a sophisticated network of watchers and analysts whose professional competence has no preset limits; analysts who are able to separate the signal from the noise. Finally, the blogosphere has a sophisticated and evolutionary system of grading the reliability and relevance of stories; it promotes stories of interest upward until they reaches the top of the Internet hierarchy within hours. From that apex, blogospheric memes can make the jump into the mainstream media and into the legal arenas of society.

... The blogosphere does not contain any preordained political or cultural bias. Structurally, however, it is extremely hostile to cant and disinformation. The political side which tells the most lies and falsehoods is likely to suffer more at its hands than one which hews more closely to the observable truth.
I wonder if the numbers are big enough yet. Though it seems absurb to say that anything between 55 and 100 million blogs may not be enough, the real point is how many readers they reach, or rather how many readers a particular meme reaches. One of the commenters (TigerHawk) points out that the Green Helmet Guy story would have been read by only about 1,000,000 people, if you calculate from the visits to Reynolds, Johnson, Malkin and Power Line. You might be able to add a few more readers if you include sites further down the feeding chain, but not a lot. I'm not sure a million is enough or even what number would be the tipping point. What would be a signal that the tipping point had been reached? The reaction of the MSM, or even of political leaders? How do you measure impact?

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