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.: February 2007 --> How professional writers and political hacks changed blogging for the worse

How professional writers and political hacks changed blogging for the worse

» In light of the recent resignation of the Edwards bloggers, Garret Vreeland offers a thoughtful perspective on the culture of blogging—both what it was and what has changed as partisans (for whom making a point matters more than being fair) and professional writers (for whom editing is writing) enter the stage. A good read, highly recommended.

A side comment: What are politicians to do? Thoughtful, evenhanded analysis simply doesn't drive traffic as effectively as outrageously stated opinions. It's unlikely that political campaigns will even be able to identify the bloggers who can provide them with good thinking, good writing, and comparatively inoffensive archives, since their more strident brethren will be the ones at the top of everyone's blogrolls.

Some of these standards will inevitably change. Too many people are living online now, and that means a paper trail. No one is always at their best. At the same time, I hope it will start to dawn on some of the newcomers that they are publishing, and lead them to moderate accordingly.

A second comment: Hiring these particular bloggers was the equivalent of hiring Molly Ivins to write for your campaign—except without her years of experience, and without the filter of the editors who taught her how to moderate even brash opinions to appeal to the broadest possible audience. You might have loved Molly Ivin's writing, but she was at her best speaking truth to power, not speaking on behalf of the powerful.

 [ 02.19.07 ]


do you think the idea of vox (or whatever application) giving the idea that you can blog behind the curtain of 'friends' or 'family' and keep everyone else out is misleading? it might be giving you a false sense of security in the long run.

Wow, that's a great point, Leah, and one I hadn't thought of. To some extent, that's going to depend on the security of the application—if something somehow slipped through the security screen, hilarity could ensue.

But I think everyone has to recognize (or at least that the next generation is going to grow up understanding) that nothing is secure. Even letters can be passed from person to person, and electronic communications of all kinds can be easily copied and passed along.

(Remember Jr. High School, and how there were always a few girls who would maliciously repeat the mean things others said to the person who they were said about, in order to manipulate their social status? I can't even imagine what it's like to go to school with that girl now if you have a MySpace page.)

Anyway, good question, I'm going to have to think about whether the sense of security those applications provide (and I think that kind of granular control is the future) are going to provide a false sense of security or change the equation in some way.

Also, when you're an adult, you have a much better sense of who you trust; when you're a kid, alliances can change yearly. I wonder how you effectively manage your trusted relationships under those circumstances? In other words, does MySpace or Vox just magnify the middle school experience?

Can the politicians have their cake, and eat it?

I have mixed feelings about moderation. However, I can appreciate the damage that was done.



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