One of my favorite sites (often offensive and usually smart) Wealth Bondage throws an flame at the blogosphere, HT rants that techno-hellraisers that seek to create change are not connecting with real world movements creating change.
I actually know some of the day jobs of my favorite hacks. These folks are all about creating positive social change and working with very real (off the net) groups. I disagree a bit with the association of the blogoshere as unconnected. Sure, some folks are paid bloggers but Jim Moore and a bunch of that crew were working on Howard Dean's Campaign, Henri Poole is working for Dennis, Ben Green works for Kerry, Kos does work for an environmental group, Jon Stall works for OneNW....maybe these are not the Instapundit, Joi Ito, danah boyd blogger type gods but that doesn't matter there are lots of people using the blog world to refine real world strategies and projects.
The "last mile" with many key constituencies is handled face to face, or by pony express, or via internal memoranda delivered by flunkies in wingtips through proper channels, and through sermons in black churches, speeches in union halls, testimony in consciousness raising groups, in handbills and posters, and in public demonstrations, not only of affection, but of protest and engagement. So, we should use the net to discuss how to go beyond it. I hope to be a weak link in that chain.
While I find the relations between black churches, union halls and other messengers a bit stretched "the Happy Tutor" has made the point that this is only the first step in moving ideas. Developing rants on a blog does not mean anything. Agreed.
My blog (this one) is an online thinking space. It is my open notepad for developing personal thoughts about making things happen. The use of the blog has become a huge part of the personal discipline to read more, think out loud and get thoughts into words.
A handful of my friends are also planning campaigns, spending money on ads, visiting churches and unions to connect messages and ideas the last mile. Weak ties created by blog publishing can help foster the transfer of good ideas. However, these tools are also great for "low touch" relationships that keep the connection fresh between people (me and the handful of people that read my rants) while I keep connected using a news aggregator to slurp the latest thoughts from my trusted friends.
Casual online publishing helps foster network cohesion:
* Develops new "weak ties". (I don't know who you are reading this but if you read it often enough you get a sense of what fires my engines.
* Fosters common story and common language. I realize that most my post need reworking before I share them with work, funding or friend circles.
* Improves team situational awareness. My fiends send me good links or ideas and I will flush them out a bit on the blog.
* Refines thinking and provides stimulus for face-to-face conversation. I have actually bumped into people that read this site every so often and we pick up on a thread of mutual interest.
I agree with Happy Tutor on some levels. This blog will not by itself change anything. (I have a day job for that) but I want to push back that bloggers are not walking the last mile. My sense is that the blog post are more post cards from the field than think tank ivory tower BS.