To Blog or Not to Blog - Some Lawmakers Say Hands Off
Despite polls that suggest as little as 5-15% of Americans know what a blog is and visit one occasionally, I suspect that figure is a trifle off. Yes, I have a natural bias as someone who uses Web logs, called blogs, for a variety of different applications from team collaboration and project management journaling, for marketing, for online community building, and for one-on-one technical support among a broad mix of other purposes (including for fun and to rant and rave).
But if you just take the aspect of skyrocketing coverage of the blog phenom in the MSM (mainstream media) you have a lot more exposure. In reality, I think accurate figures are closer to:
- * 50% who have at least a rudimentary understanding of what a Web log is
* maybe 30-35%% who visit them five or less times a month
* 20% who visit quite frequently (3x or more a week)
* 5-8% who are well on their way to going to the Betty Ford Clinic for Treatment of Blog Addiction
* 1-2% who blog themselves
I also think polls dramatically underrepresent the number of older Americans (65+) who blog and use the Internet in general. Talking with others, I sometimes get the feeling I'm the only person in the world who knows a senior who actively embraces tech and the Web (and I know many of these seniors). Shame on everyone for discounting this population and shame on us again for not helping more seniors get online.
With the growing emergence of blogs as a communications medium in our society, and probably especially the role blogs have played in political America in the last two years, there has been more talk recently about trying to "regulate" (oh that word) what blogs can say, how they operate, and whether they can do things like endorse a candidate. This got whipped into a fervor with a comment from the Federal Election Commission recently (and mind you, this agency is tends to have the balls and the political effectualness of an amoeba) - perhaps slightly overplayed and over-reacted to on the 'net - that implied the feds might have to create and enforce certain blogs that operate in the political arena.
Read this CNN/Reuters story (their tech coverage is abysmal but for non-political hacks/techs, this gives the basics) to see why some lawmakers are saying hands off. And if you happen to feel strongly about the issue of keeping fed hands off blogs, you can sign the petition here in an effort that has broadly bipartisan support.
Just FYI, listen to the MSM, however, and you'd believe almost all blogs are political. Not true. However, some of the best known/most frequently referenced blogs are political (Atrios, Daily Kos, and even - and this is not for the faint-hearted FreeRepublic).
FYI, you'll actually find me at a little media/political analysis blog called Cut-to-the-Chase.