The Chief Blogging Officer rants poetic about a new book on blogs by Hugh Hewitt, a conservative political pundit from my home of Orange County, Calif., where conservatives are not born, but bred in Matrix-like pods beneath the Richard Nixon Library.
CBO Christopher Locke ponders Hewitt’s tome with all the delicacy of Edward Scissorhands on a keyboard. Here a particularly sarcastic sample:
“This fellow Hugh Hewitt…thinks there’s something earth-shaking going on with all this. Don’t you just hate these people who go around saying the Internet is going to change everything. Oh yeah, and business better wake up! And on and on with some boring jeremiad about how we’ll all be damned to media obscurity if we don’t drop everything right this second and get onboard some harebrained Casey-Joneslike train-themed business schema? The shame of it…I mean, where do they find these people, under rocks?”
I don’t have as much of a problem with Hugh’s book as the CBO. Hugh has a right to say what he wants, he at least has been a “blogger” for a long time, and while he may be full of crap (I haven’t read the book, so I’ll withhold judgment), he at least is joining the conversation.
I do have one issue with Hugh’s blog philosophy, however, as espoused in his recent WeeklyStandard.com column. In describing “what bloggers do,” he says: “We are cyber sherpas, leading anyone who wants to follow through the mountains of information that accumulate every day to the stuff we think is most important. We give advice. We warn. We edit. All of free media on the Internet is our giant wire service, and each day, throughout the day, we provide as many bulletins as we please.”
That may be what Hugh Hewitt does, but it is not “what bloggers do.” Some do, but some don’t. What about the blogger who post recipes, or the blogger who writes original poetry? What about the corporate blog? A blog is a tool, it’s Usenet for the 21st Century. It gives individuals power to connect and share, but it doesn’t give them a press pass if they don’t want one.
“Bloggers” can be anything, no matter what the media or Hugh Hewitt want them to be. They can even be “Cyber Sherpas,” though anyone who still uses the word “cyber” in a sentence that doesn’t end with “just kidding” should get their internal clocks checked and make sure it’s not still set for 1994.