O’ Say Has Some Speed

Writers from the political left and right continue to marvel at the speed, "sophistication" and decisiveness of discussions in the blogosphere.

Michael Kinsley, writing in The Washington Post ("Blogged Down," 12/19):

As an afterthought, I sent copies to a couple of blogs (kausfiles.com and andrewsulllivan.com). What happened next was unnerving. A few days later, most of the big shots hadn’t
replied. But overnight I had dozens of responses from the blogosphere.
They’re still pouring in. And that’s just direct e-mail to me. Within
hours, there were discussions going on in a dozen blogs, all
hyperlinking to one another like rabbits.  Just so I don’t sound too naive: I am familiar with
the blog phenomenon, and I worked at a Web site for eight years. Some
of my best friends are bloggers. Still, it’s different when you
purposely drop an idea into this bubbling cauldron and watch the
reaction. What floored me was not just the volume and speed of the
feedback but its seriousness and sophistication.

Andrew Sullivan, writing on his blog:

You guys are the real stars of the blogosphere –
the interlocutors and readers and writers who were once consigned to
relative silence, but now have a medium all your own. The bloggers are
conduits, forums, niches, designed to unleash the broader wisdom of the
online crowds. That’s one reason a Hayek-Oakeshott Tory like me loves
the blogosphere so much. Not so much spontaneous order as the endless
pursuit of a million intimations – a constant conversation, with peaks
and lulls, discourtesies and jokes, outbursts and rants, meditations
and quips, and all going nowhere in particular. And in the end, some
truths do emerge, if you have the balls to acknowledge them. It’s the
purest form of democratic discussion yet devised.

The Weekly Standard’s Hugh Hewitt talks about the blogosphere’s power for focusing criticism on "anti-Christian" journalism ("The Year of the Blog," 12/16):

After interviewing both [Albert] Mohler and [Mark] Roberts for two hours on the air, I then posted links to the Newsweek piece and their criticisms, and invited bloggers from around the internet to weigh in via a virtual symposium I term a "Vox Blogoli." Dozens of bloggers accepted the invite, and an astonishing array of piercing reviews of [Jon] Meacham followed. Among many favorites are the Evangelical Outpost and Tapscott’s Copy Desk, but all of them are well worth the read. (The complete list of symposium posts can be read here.) What the blogosphere allowed to happen is the organization of dissent which is focused, credentialed, complete, and–crucially–publicized.

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