Serious and not so serious statements about "the blogosphere"

Thanks to Nick Carbone who posted this to a mailing list, I read this morning’s New York Times editorial “Measuring the Blogosphere.” Here’s the opening paragraph:

Earlier this week, Technorati, a Web site that indexes blogs, released its semiannual “State of the Blogosphere” report. It records a steady, and astonishing, growth. Nearly 80,000 new blogs are created every day, and there are some 14.2 million in existence already, 55 percent of which remain active. Some 900,000 new blog postings are added every day – a steady increase marked by extraordinary spikes in new postings after incidents like the London bombing. The blogosphere – that is, the virtual realm of blogdom as a whole – doubles in size every five and a half months.

Now, as you might imagine since this is from the nation’s premiere dinosaur blog newspaper in the U.S., this New York Times editorial praises the growth of blogs while it simultaneously dismisses the content of most blogs, calling the growth of the blogosphere…

…a profoundly human phenomenon, a way of expanding and, in some sense, reifying the ephemeral daily conversation that humans engage in. Every day the blogosphere captures a little more of the strange immediacy of the life that is passing before us. Think of it as the global thought bubble of a single voluble species.

It’s passages like this one that make me think/wish I was working on something a bit more theoretical about blogs and the way that they problematize our conventional concepts of rhetorical situation. Maybe I will get on that one of these days, maybe not….

In the “not so serious” department of statements about the blogosphere: my colleague Steve B. pointed me to a sound file actually available via iTunes titled “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Blogging.” Similar to the book and recent movie The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (and I think this sound file was part of a promotion to the movie that came out earlier this summer), it’s a voice-over encylopedia-like entry that is both pretty darn funny and reasonably accurate. I came across this web site that has the words from the recording. An example:

It [that is, blogging] is the 21st century equivalent of hanging around railway stations writing pithy but erudite descriptions of the passing trains. To take part in blogging or, to use the appropriate terminology; to join the blogosphere, there are a couple of things you need to do. Firstly, you need to increase the size of your ego, without a swollen ego, you simply cannot achieve the levels of solecism required by a modern blog.

Many a blogger (including me on many days) would hear this and say “yes, yes; what’s your point?”

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