The Weblog as Catalyst

Periodically, people try to define what a weblog is – but to my way of thinking, that is not nearly as interesting as what a weblog does. Because weblogs act as a catalyst to enable communications that would not otherwise occur. Weblogs provide anyone with internet access their own personal soapbox to proclaim their views.

In today’s world, it’s too easy to feel lost in the crowd. Perhaps you’re not comfortable speaking in public. Or perhaps you’re insecure. But on the internet, no one knows that you’re a dog. And with a weblog, everyone has an opportunity to proclaim their views and find an audience.

But a weblog is the medium not the message. If a weblog provides a personal viewpoint, then it is only reflecting personal views within the author seeking expression. The weblog doesn’t provide a magic looking glass into the author.

Which is why it’s a mistake to expect weblogs to transform politics – especially Presidential politics. The popular weblogs come from authors with personal messages seeking a medium to convey that message. A Presidential candidate has plenty of ways to convey a message and is looking for the right message to convey. And political handlers polish and position any personal messages before they’re aired in public.

So I think that it’s great for campaign staffers to blog about campaigns. Because I believe that you can judge a man by the people with whom he surrounds himself. And I believe that the compromises made in establishing a position are often more revealing than the position itself. And a staffer weblog could just be the catalyst in conversations about either.