Andrew Sullivan has written an inspiring piece in The Atlantic about the rising stature of the blogosphere and why blogging has ushered in a “golden age” of journalism. One key concept that leads him to this conclusion: immediate accountability.
“To blog is therefore to let go of your writing in a way, to hold it at arm’s length, open it to scrutiny, allow it to float in the ether for a while, and to let others, as Montaigne did, pivot you toward relative truth. A blogger will notice this almost immediately upon starting. Some e-mailers, unsurprisingly, know more about a subject than the blogger does. They will send links, stories, and facts, challenging the blogger’s view of the world, sometimes outright refuting it, but more frequently adding context and nuance and complexity to an idea. The role of a blogger is not to defend against this but to embrace it. He is similar in this way to the host of a dinner party. He can provoke discussion or take a position, even passionately, but he also must create an atmosphere in which others want to participate.”
The most visceral aspect of blogging is the fact that the distance between author and reader is virtually nil. Scary, but at the same time, exhilarating.