Monday, May 02, 2005

The latest revision:

I. Content

Abstract. There are three categories of public blogging: commentary, referral, and verification.

A) Commentary

Function. The most effective political act in a liberal constitutional democracy is not to vote but to persuade. In modern societies the principle means of persuasion are the various media platforms that generate and distribute commentary. Blogs are uniquely valuable insofar as they offer unprecedented individual access to a means of mass persuasion.

Type 1: Formal. Formal blogging immediately derives from the current op-ed format, but its broader form can be traced back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Formal commentary appeals exlusively to reason and empirical fact in order to convince the reader that its argument is the most legitimate. Formal blog commentary is typically less structured than traditional literary commentary, but it is still formal insofar as its argument is self-contained and logically consistent.

Type 2: Conversational. Conversational commentary first appeared with the advent of radio in the early 1900s. It expanded rapidly with the introduction of television at mid-century and exponentially following the proliferation of cable television in the 1990s. Conversational commentary is innately unstructured, appeals to emotion as readily as reason, and lacks any deliberate illocutionary axis. Significantly, the emergence of blogging marks the first time that conversational commentary has become viable in literary form.

B) Referral

Function. The democratic value of a free press is determined by the means with which news-content* is produced and disseminated. At present corporate entities alone have the resources necessary to generate and distribute news-content on a mass scale**. For the print and broadcast media this means that those entities themselves determine which news-content is disseminated most broadly. However, the on-line news marketplace is currently oversaturated. Blogging dissolves that saturation by serving as an independent arbiter of news-content value.

Type 1: Non-Intentional. The defining characteristic of non-intentional referrals is that their primary purpose is not to introduce their news-content. Rather, non-intentional referrals are introduced only to defend an argument or present a subject for debate or verification. As a result they operate solely according to the implied importance of their news-content. Significantly, non-intentional referrals constitute the vast majority of referrals overall and are responsible for the bulk of independent news-content dissemination.

Type 2: Intentional. The defining characteristic of an intentional referral is that its primary purpose is to introduce its news-content. Intentional referrals operate solely according to the credibility of the blog in which they appear. Although they make up a minority of referrals overall, intentional referrals constitute the only means of both direct and independent news-content dissemination.

C) Verification

Function. For a liberal constitutional democracy news items are valuable only insofar as they are accurate. For a media corporation news items are valuable only insofar as they are profitable. Verification blogging serves to correct any discrepancy between the two.

Type 1: Positive.

Type 2: Negative.

II. Organization

Abstract: greater stylistic diversity, greater elasticity in its visual presentation

A) Individual Blogs - linear

B) Collective Blogs - linear/elastic

C) Super Blogs - elastic

III. Publishing


I.B. *News-content should not be confused with a news item. Although news-content can refer to a news item, it can also refer to news commentary or news analysis.

I.B. **1) This could change in the near future. Currently, commentary and referral blogging alone are viable on a mass scale. If the more popular blogs continue to merge, they may begin generate enough revenue to conduct their own reporting as well.

I.B. **2) As noted, it is currently possible for one form of news-content to be both generated and distributed without corporate resources. But that form is dependent on news items produced by corporate media.


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