Yes, it seems like everyone has a blog these days. Businesses. Newspapers. Dogs. Cats. Candidates for public office. And often, these are worthy of some celebration. But amidst call the hoo ha, I want to call attention to one kind of blog — interactive blog sites — where hundreds, even thousands of people post essays and engage in online conversation, debate, political organizing, and the creation of culture. This is one of the most remarkable developments in modern democracy and electronic media. These sites are changing political and media culture faster than anything since cable television. I encourage readers to get involved and to master the mechanics of participation. These skills and the knowledge you aquire of the blogosphere will be coming in very handy. Consider this: It’s free. It’s going to happen anyway. And the only question is whether you will be directly engaged in this remarkable trend sooner or later.
Here are a few of the trend setters:
The Daily Kos has enormous traffic and is playing a central role in the national political conversation, and in some areas of issue and candidate advocacy. Recently remarkable discussions have sprung forth as a result of posts by Sen. Barack Obama, Rep. Louise Slaughter, and Rep. John Conyers, among others. Their posts appeared along side those of rank-and-file, and usually anonymous writers. This is but one example of the way in which interactive blogging is by far the most democratic media in the U.S.
I am also a fan of Booman Tribune — it doesn’t attract the big names, but the conversation is less focused on the Democratic Party; and similarly, My Left Wing, is the Left Coastish site started by Mary Scott O’Connor. It’s lively, irreverent, reliably progressive.
Pastordan’s new site, Street Prophets is a spin-off of The Daily Kos. It brings a decidedly progressive slant to discussions of religion and politics. Its like nothing else out there, and I highly recommend it.
A site that has been slowly coming along is e Pluribus Media — an outgrowth of the exciting citizen journalist movement that helped expose fake White House reporter Jeff Gannon.
And there are two more big interactive blogs that are still in the works and whose launches seem imminent — a few weeks in both cases. (But I have been wrong before! These things take longer than one might think.)
Political Cortex will bring a number of innovations to the world of interactive blogging, and feature the next generation of political bloggers. You can sign up for the mailing list to be notified of the launch. Or if you are a regular reader of this blog, you can be sure I will announce it here whent he time comes.
Finally, my baby, Talk to Action is inching along. I can promise you a slate of excellent writers — some of them brand new to the blogosphere. Unlike the sites listed above in which pretty much any and all subjects are appropriate, and the conversations can be kind of a free for all — we are headed in the other direction. We want to have a more focused conversation about the religious right and what to do about it. Of course, even that can be a pretty wide-ranging discussion. You can still visit our temporary site where some of us have been posting while we ramp-up the fully interactive national site.