Oliver Willis has a good post, post bloggercon, on the (somewhat annoying--that's my addition) tendency of bloggers to take ourselves a bit--uh--too seriously, and our tendency to generalize our personal transformations to the world at large.
In other words, slowwww down bloggercon disciples: that pesky real world still turns, and most of it doesn't blog.
I think I do a double take on the topic Oliver writes about at least three or four times per day. One minute, I think blogging is nothing short of the most important revolution of our lifetime. The next, I think it's a self-serving playground for people with the misfortune of being stuck working on computers all day for a living.
But if you made me pick a side in the "blogging is changing the world" and "blogging is just blogging" debate, I have to come down on the "blogging is changing the world" side. Even if it is just a million people at a time, and even if it is still today a white majority geek-heavy somewhat elitist activity.
Yes, even if.
Because in my mind, blogging is the most open, free, passionate, cross-cultural media for conversation--short of being in 26 places at one time--that we have at this moment, in this world. It is the most efficient and meaningful way to connect you to me, and me to him, and him to her, and.....
More than for any other reason, blogging is changing the world as an exercise in voice, an exercise in giving ourselves permisision to speak and in getting others used to hearing us.
I think blogging is changing the world one post at a time, but not because of the individual posts themselves. I think you have to look at it outside in, from the spot at which the voice resonates backwards to the source. The power is at the point of connection, and in tracing it back to the originators, and yes, in seeing those personal transformations too.
Hyperlinked voices can change the world at the point of sound. And what else can?
There are a million (so we hear) blog points right now, so then multiples of millions of intersections. How can that many points of conversation/information/poetry/hate/love/passion/power not influence the world in some way? My money's betting that they can, and that they are.
To me, then, the power in blogging to change the world isn't so much what we say, or what the Dean bloggers say, or what the Warbloggers say, or what Oliver or I say.
The power of blogging is in the saying.
So says me.