I've tried figure out a way to word this post without offending nearly 100% of my readers and thousands of other people, but I couldn't, so I'm just going to be blunt about it.
There's a movement
afoot - started by PR guru Steve Rubel - to get Time to name bloggers
as its Person of the Year.
My reaction? In a word, NO.
Yes, there was Rathergate, the importance of which I do not want to diminish. There was the cultural phenomenon of Iraq bloggers and Iranian bloggers. There was the unprecedented move to give bloggers credentials to the Republican and Democrat conventions and there was, of course, the blogging of the election.
But all that does not add up to Person(s) of the Year.
As bloggers, we tend to look at the blogosphere from the inside. We immerse ourselves in the blog world and sometimes we are all guilty of thinking that everyone exists in our world.
Bloggers are the proverbial speck of dirt under a giant's thumbnail. When you think about the population of the world and hold up the number of bloggers - or blog readers - against that number, we become insignificant.
bq. For 2004, I cannot think of a single person or persons that had a greater influence on society than the bloggers. Let's remind them by making our voice heard. If you think about American politics, media, business - no one, no one had a greater influence for better or worse than the bloggers.
Perhaps blogs did have an influence, but on whom? On people who read blogs, of course. And how many people is that? How large is that number when held up against the number of people who take part in politics, media and business, or against the number of people that voted in the election?
Technorati currently tracks 4,665,281 blogs. How many of those blogs deal with the subject of politics, media and business? How many of those blogs are updated daily or even read daily? Sheer numbers do not make a compelling argument.
Imagine the cover of Time's Person of the Year issue claiming bloggers as the winner of the coveted award. How many people would take a look at that magazine and say "What the hell is a blogger?" Sure, you can call us - or a lot of you - citizen journalists, but then you'd be negating about 80% of bloggers, because only about 20% of bloggers, if that many, consider themselves journalists of any type.
We are a clique. We are a group of people with inside jokes and a terminology that only we understand (fisking, for instance). Giving the Time honor to bloggers would be like giving it to the Farscape fans who tried to get the show back on the air after it was cancelled. No one cares but them. Will America - or the rest of the world that reads Time - raise a celebratory glass to bloggers should this happen or will they stare quizzically at the cover of the magazine?
I do think on a whole that we are a self-important lot. It's hard for me to imagine that anyone outside of our circle (albeit a wide one) knows about or cares about blogs. Last year's winner was the American soldier. 2002 it was the Enron and WorldCom whistleblowers. How do bloggers stack up to that? Not at all.
This year's informal list of nominees include Karl Rove, President Bush, Michael Moore and Mel Gibson in addition to bloggers. Of course, I'd rather see bloggers win the gold over Moore, but it's fair to say that Moore had more impact - one could even say negative impact - on events in this country in the past year than did bloggers.
Personally, I'm pulling for Rove. Because the voice in my head tells me I must.