George Will strikes out on blogs
George Will‘s bow tie is in a bunch this week because TIME magazine selected "you" as the 2006 Person of the Year. Here’s where his argument falls apart…
"There are expected to be 100 million bloggers worldwide by the end of 2007, which is why none (my emphasis) will be like Franklin or Paine. Both were geniuses; genius is scarce. Both had a revolutionary civic purpose, which they accomplished by amazing exertions. Most (my emphasis) bloggers have the private purpose of expressing themselves for their own satisfaction. There is nothing wrong with that, but there is nothing demanding or especially admirable about it, either…..George III would have preferred dealing with 100 million bloggers rather than one Paine."
I’m not sure how Will can conclude that the enormous volume of blogs will not yield a single Franklin or Paine. Surely, out of 100 million writers there must be at least one bright light. As he points out, correctly, genius is scarce. People who exercise discretion in what they read, be it books or blogs, understand that within this huge Internet haystack there are more than a few needles – gifted, thoughtful and passionate people capable of moving industries or societies.
Well known people from various walks of life are blogging these days – examples include billionaire businessman Mark Cuban, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, ex-Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda, TV gab queen Rosie O’Donnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Even Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad feels the need to post his unique musings online (complete with four language options, a question-of-the-day, and a blogroll of Dr. A’s favorite sites). These sites are interesting, but they won’t produce the next Franklin or Paine. Look at the masses. If you go beyond the "my life and experiences" crowd, you’ll find there are some brilliant people online, and they have plenty to say. The next Franklin or Pierce may very well come from this group, as inexplicable and disconcerting as that may be for Mr. Will.
The supply of people with revolutionary purpose, capable of amazing exertions, has not been exhausted. Blogging offers these people the unprecedented opportunity to communicate their unfiltered message faster and further than ever before.
Purpose and energy are not limited to the civic arena, of course. Blogging offers business people a new channel to get out your message. It’ll help you connect with current and potential employees, customers and partners. Your posts will be read by more people than you can imagine. We’ve never had more opportunity to communicate than we do today. Use it!
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