On Blog Links, the Chattering Class, and Returning CNN’s Favor

Monday, July 21, 2008

I noticed today that I have traffic coming to this blog from a link posted by CNN at the end of their current article on yesterday’s Colombian marches against kidnapping. CNN has a nice feature at the end of their stories, called From the Blogs: Controversy, commentary, and debate, which offers a survey of blogs that mention the topic at hand. Once before (May 16-17), when I commented on the Sichuan earthquake, CNN listed me in its queue, thereby introducing my thoughts to two readers in Hong Kong, one in the UK, and one in the USA. Four readers may not seem like much, but it indicates that someone out there believes that as you, the reader, search for free access to content, and I freely provide it, the go-between can sell advertizing and turn a profit.

I knew that.

And maybe for young people this is so du jour that it’s no cause for rumination, but for a guy like me who took my first journalism class while JFK was president, I can marvel at both the news (like the amazing upturn of events in Colombia) and the way that news is delivered.

Simply as a case in point: Last night, in a few minutes before going to bed, I wrote a quick couple of paragraphs and added links to an AFP newswire story and two You-Tube videos, one a week-old interview of Ingrid Betancourt by Al Jazeera and the other a Colombian TV report from a concert earlier yesterday. Then, while I slept, CNN found my quick paragraphs and made them available to the world. The Internet has both enabled a million people, world wide, to organize themselves into a demonstration—a remarkable feat of mass democracy—and then allowed individuals to sort through the chattering-class reactions of thousands, and for one single comment to be read by anyone who is looking. In part two of the Al Jazeera interview Betancourt talks about how the Internet reduces national boundaries. But she does not speak as if a Rip Van Winkle, returned to see the Internet’s growth over six-and-a-half years. It seems obvious that even as a hostage in the jungle, she was able to look over some guard’s shoulder and see the world.

I’m still processing that, both the good and the bad. I won’t get to the bottom of it tonight, especially with an essay that is trying to run in three different directions. I will see which direction it’s looking for tomorrow, and maybe continue.

Posted by Brian at 10:41 PM  

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May 12, 2010 at 11:07 PM  

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