Tuesday, November 11, 2008

the world is changing and it is happening on my computer

The world that we live in today is forever evolving. Everyday there are new ways of traveling, eating, and communicating. We can no longer look at the world as simply vertical and horizontal according to Aaron Barlow’s Blogging @merica The New Public Sphere, but as a mixture of the two. This is especially true when it comes to the internet and the way people interact when using it.

Over the past seven days I have been observing and interacting with a political blog on the internet. My assignment was to become a part of this blogosphere and interact with other members and see what their reactions were. This proved to be exciting for me; I was never officially part of a blog where so many other members have direct access to what I say and could comment back to me. In the past I was in forums with my friends, or now in this class blog where have become friendly with most of the class who see my thoughts. In the blog that I have been observing there is nobody I really know at all. So this puts a whole new angle on the assignment for me in both a good and nervous way.

The Blog that I have chosen is called Political Punch it is a mix of any political topics going on in that day or of the days past. This blog is one of the most popular political blogs on the internet. After searching through many this is the one that I had agreed with the most because of people’s comments and how many of these comments there were per-post. Also Technorati.com ranked it with one of the highest authorities (most trafficked and commented on) on the site.

For the first couple of days I kept my thoughts inside and did not chose to write on any of the matters that people were discussing. After I had become used to the set up and how frequent people commented I became less nervous. The next day I decided to create a name for when I chose to make a comment on a post. I wanted this name to reflect who I was politically, so I called myself REDHOTTforPOLITICS to show which side I more agree with.

When reading Barlow’s Blogging @merica The New Public Sphere he points out many topics or ideas you can see happening in blogs. There was one particular idea that caught my interest in chapter four. Barlow talks about the idea of a vertical and a horizontal structure of web cultures, and the differences between citizen and professional journalism. These things are so easily seen in such a large political blog like Political Punch because it has so many different views and authorities. Barlow states that the best place to see an example of a vertical structure is in most organizations, because of a need of “certain efficiency” (Barlow, 2008). This means a person or leader at the top makes all decisions and then delegates tasks to the rest of his people. On the other hand there is a horizontal structure which works better for internet users and blogs, because there is no chain of command people work together to make it work. I found an immediate clash of these two ideas as soon as I started on the site. Political Punch is a blog that comes from ABC NEWS a vertical structure. On the other hand it is a blog that is horizontal because it depends on the thoughts of a group for it to become successful. Since Political Punch is such a visited and commented on blog I think they owe their success to the combination of the two structures. In my opinion political blogs are like a battle field of people's ideas. So what ABC does is challenge some of these people’s ideas in the blog which spark comments and therefore creates more “Battle” or debate.

On the site ABC NEWS have one man Jake Tapper a senior national correspondent post his blogs at least once a day, and they give the opportunity for groups or any person to respond. I found myself ready to comment on the blog when reading about president elect Obama’s ideas for a missile defense system in eastern Europe. I jumped in giving my opinion and actually starting a large debate, which was exactly what I was worried about. Surprisingly people seemed to be on my side. This went on until someone with the name pefros started to argue with everyone. I found this interesting in the sense that he thinks he is better and knows more about everything than everybody else. This is exactly what Barlow mentions with the citizens journalist. Just because this person has the right to spread their thoughts doesn't mean they are right. As Barlow says “anyone with the means can enter into journalism; they do not need to prove themselves first.” (Barlow, 2008). Then I thought wait was I not doing the same thing as pefros when I said what I had to say. This made me think that it is only human nature to express your opinion to try and show you are right. With so many people on political blogs they are either on your side or against you and it only fuels a person even more to engage in this “battle”.

With the ease of access to the internet and people being more computer ready than before it changes the way people communicate with each other. This is clear when looking at blogs and other media like this. People now have more means of a public outlet to get their opinion across. Even though this builds a new category of information and with this information we now have to ask how trust worthy or legitimate is it.

Barlow, A. (2008). Bloggin America: The New Public Sphere. Westport: Praeger Publishers.

Technorati. (n.d.). Retrieved November 06, 2008, from

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