Who Validates the Blogger?

Over at Get Religion Blog, tmatt ponders the blogosphere and the right of anyone to create their own blog,

The problem with “blogging,” right now, is that no one really knows what the word means.

To put this in media theory terms, is “blogging” the box or is it the content of the box? Is blogging a software technology, or is blogging one type of writing that takes place inside the environment created by that software? Are all blogs created equal? What happens when mainstream-media people create blogs? Is that still blogging?

And what does all of this have to do with religion news in mainstream media?

Actually, this is one of the topics looming over the “cross-pollination” talks right now between GetReligion and Jeffrey Weiss at the Dallas Morning News.

When some people use the term “blogging” they are referring to those first-person-obsessive sites where one person — anonymous, in some cases — is pouring out his her her feelings abut the world on one specific topic. What are the credentials here? The reader may or may not know.

So, who has “authority” over the blogosphere? Who decides what is a “legitimate” blog? Where do we get “credentials?” Is there some office somewhere that hands out blogging credentials so we can be assured of our legitimacy? Isn’t this Big Brother talking?

The thing about the internet is that it is the great equalizer. You don’t need to be particularly intelligent to write a blog or to report news, for that matter. Anyone can start typing. Now, it takes a good bit of intelligence to realize what’s fact and what’s fiction. Some people have never learned to be discerning readers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t blog about it. The sharing of information, the creation of community, and the freedom to go beyond gender, age, stereotype (in some cases), and education is what makes the internet the most important innovation since the Gutenberg printing press.

So…..what’s wrong with “first-person-obsessive sites?” 🙂