George Will writes that “There are expected to be 100 million bloggers worldwide by the middle of 2007, which is why none will be like Franklin or Paine.” Will’s piece comes on the heels of a Joseph Rago column in yesterday’s WSJ along similar lines.
I think that analysis of the blogosphere is often weighted to the extremes: those on one end who think it will rule the world, and those who believe it’s useless, even detrimental to political dialogue. The truth, as is often the case, is somewhere in between. Blogs will never do away with the need for traditional writing and reporting, because they’re responsible for feeding blog content, and a brilliant essay will always have more staying power than a blog post. The ease of posting something on a blog is a big reason why most of them are dreck, but the freewheeling nature of blogs also allows people to engage in lively debates and throw out interesting ideas that may not justify a formal column. Blogging isn’t a substitute for the traditional media, but when it’s intelligent, it’s a useful supplement to traditional media.