Mother Jones Article on Blogs

I was highly disappointed in an article by George Packer about blogging, and especially since it was published in Mother Jones, of all places.

The Revolution Will Not Be Blogged
To see beyond their own little world and get a sense of what's really going on, journalists and readers need to get out of their pajamas.

George Packer
May/June 2004 Issue Mother Jones

For starters, I am a female blogger and very involved in the blogosphere on personal, artistic and political levels. This author has completely dismissed the value of blogs as a tool to educate and to inform the public. I write from an American POV. The founding of America and growth of democracy depends on an educated public with access to information upon which to make informed decisions.

Contrary to Parker's belief that blogging is done by those who sit around their apartments in pajamas and no action happens, many bloggers record important parts of their lives that are ACTIVE. For example, my adult son with disabilities would greatly benefit from passage of two laws that have been stuck in committees since May 2003: MiCASSA and the Money Follows the Person Act. I have submitted testimony to the federal record, and use a blog I started, Eldercare and Disability Forum to store and share useful information for disability advocates.

In two political-oriented blogs, I collect and disseminate information and resources via summary of events and links. I am not a journalist. I am a living participant of the global world and my own narrow community. Why should bloggers be held to some unstated standard, perhaps that of a reporter or journalist? Why should blogs be judged in the comparison to existing mainstream journalism? Leave it alone, and blogs do just fine, thank you, to record the impact of politics, world events, and personal issues upon individuals and people who who are ignored and isolated. Read them, appreciate the sharing, or "turn the channel".

How can giving a voice to people be not the central value of blogs? Empowerment takes many forms, my friend, and this article uses the language of snobbery and rarefication that the writer accuses of bloggers.

"A curious thing about this rarefied world is that bloggers are almost unfailingly contemptuous toward everyone except one another."
Did this statement come from your own restricted viewing stream of the blogosphere? It may seem some of that in some blogs, but not in the majority that I travel with. Perhaps this writer needs to "get out more" and talk with real bloggers who enrich our world with real social records and history of these times.

Politics is not just commentary and opinion: it affects people. Actions and policies of governments affect people. The writer seems to feel that only blogs that blow holes "in the sealed rooms of the major editorial pages and Sunday talk shows " are of importance. Experience and exposure to realities affect people who vote. Deny this opportunity to not only "publish" online but also invite contributions and comment? What's with the statement "So far this year, bloggers have been remarkably unadept at predicting events" - this condemnation seems ridiculous. It pontificates the writer's narrow view of the grand purpose of blogging. The writer's figure (guesstimate) of the "13%" as in "Although only 13 percent of Americans regularly get their campaign news from the Internet " seems to me a significant milestone in the use of the Internet, which includes blogs. Many political campaigns would love to market to such a percentage of those who may be more likely to vote. Recent political election history shows that even a third of that percentage you quote is quite capable of overturning election results.

Your statement that "Blogs remain private, written in the language and tone of knowingness, insider shorthand, instant mastery. Read them enough and any subject will go dead" reflects a pseudo-intellectual or academian personal opinion from an outsider towards those active in the "real world". You might consider getting out of your own pajamas and get a life.

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