Posts Tagged ‘Blogosphere’

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How to Start Blogging: Read Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish

10.12.10

Andrew Sullivan’s political commentary blog, The Daily Dish, has just celebrated its 10-year anniversary of existence.

Why is this a big deal?

Well, for me, my own year-plus of blogging here on Agree to Disagree started in large part because of Sullivan’s writing.  His and John August’s eponymous blog are the two blogs that I’ve read since I knew what a blog was (honestly: I can’t remember the first time that I started reading either, it’s been so long) that I never fail to read on a consistent basis — it used to be daily, but now it’s more like every two or three days when I get the chance to catch up on everything, which takes a while since Sullivan is nothing if not prolific.  (Seriously, this guy blogs a TON.)

Why do I read Sullivan (almost) daily?

He’s a phenomenal writer and he has integrity.  He’s one of the few out there in the political realm who is willing to admit he’s wrong and change his mind on something if the facts present a different view than he originally saw. Sure, it helps that I see eye-to-eye with him on many levels — gay rights, Sarah Palin being insane, the intellectual dishonesty of the GOP, the appalling stances on the legality of torture, the legalization of marijuana — just to name a few.

On the other hand, he is a classic conservative while I consider myself a liberal; whatever that means.  If it’s one thing that I’ve learned over the years of reading Sullivan, it’s that those labels mean much less than the actual stances one takes on specific subjects and policies.

I’ve always had trouble with people generalizing and being overzealous about casting aside an entire group of people — whether based on religion, race, sexual or political orientation, etc. —  and Sullivan helped me realize that neither “conservative” nor “liberal” nor “moderate” can truly describe the thoughts and feelings of a person — many in the conservative community don’t even consider Sullivan one of their own.

I don’t mean to give him such high praise as if he’s perfect and unerring.  Far from it, just like the rest of us.  But, the candid quality of his writing is immediately relatable and inspiring — even when I disagree with him — because I know it’s coming from an honest place.  He doesn’t take a stance just for the sake of being sensational.

It’s because it’s how he feels.  It’s because it’s what he thinks.

What does this mean for you?

Probably nothing.

Other than that you read me (thank you!) and probably have seen me quoting Sullivan frequently or giving him hat tips for providing source material for my own blogs.  He’s been a huge inspiration to me and it’s blatantly evident in how I write in these posts. I have no shame.  Might as well learn (read: imitate) from the best.

Here’s to you, Andrew and the team at The Dish: many thanks for your continued excellence in adding quality content to the blogosphere.  I hope to one day hold a candle to what you’re able to do.

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Palin Doesn’t Understand Social Media

03.03.10
Facebook, Inc.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin claims that she never had – nor currently has – any opportunity to further explain her comments on the Family Guy-Down’s Syndrome controversy.  She even uses her time on Jay Leno’s return to The Tonight Show to reiterate her lack of ability to further explain:

“But a special-needs family asking me what I thought about the episode. I commented and then that gets out there in the blogosphere, it gets out there in the different forms of the mediums that we have today. And then it’s left there, not an opportunity for me to follow up and kind of elaborate on what I really meant and what I really thought of the thing.”

Before Mr. Leno went to a commercial break, Ms. Palin said that a fuller opportunity to discuss the incident would have led to a “much healthier dialogue.” After the commercial, she did not expand on her remarks.

If you believe her claims then it means Palin needs to learn a thing or two about the blogosphere and social media.

I don’t believe her.

The beauty (and ugliness) of social media is that it is constant conversation.  Just stop by Palin’s own Facebook page and read the thousands of comments on her notes where vitriolic fans engage in all kinds of continuing discussion on whatever she happens to write and you’ll see what I’m talking about.  People comment not only on the article itself but are responding to previous comments, whose authors get notified and then can choose to respond or not.  Judging by the number of comments, they are responding.

If Palin is unaware of this, she’s even further removed from reality than I thought.

Don’t like an article?  Write a blog.  Post your anger in the article’s comments section.  While you’re at it, most writers have their bylines link directly to their email address, so you can also go straight to the source. This isn’t like the old media where you’d have to write a letter to the editor and hope that they choose to publish your dissent for an article.

Part of what makes social media so much different from old, print media is that it’s not static.  It’s dynamic, living and breathing, changing and changeable.  It’s instantaneous.  This means that there is always a way to jump into the conversation or start your own.  Sarah Palin just chose to not respond to emails from Family Guy producers or the actress from the controversial episode who actually has Down’s Syndrome.

Probably because she doesn’t actually have anything to say that would clear up the matter.  And it’s more fun for her to just claim to not be part of the media machine so she can keep berating it.

(H/T The Daily Dish)

Image via Wikipedia
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Not All Atheists Against Mother Theresa Stamp

02.01.10

An atheist organization called the Freedom From Religion Foundation has come out against the US Postal Service’s new stamp commemorating the late Mother Teresa, because she is a religious figure.  Naturally, an uproar on the blogosphere has ensued and rightly so.  This type of inflammatory event is precisely what many bloggers – on both sides of the political divide – live for.

I have no real interest in treading the same territory that has already been well covered.  My issue is with the leap that many bloggers have taken in suggesting that one atheist group speaks for all atheists everywhere.

The main news article breaking the story that I found was from Fox News, which bore the title: “Atheist Group Blasts Postal Service for Mother Teresa Stamp.”  From what I’ve read about the event, this is true.  Unfortunately, many in the blogosphere have neglected to include the word “group,” suggesting that all atheists are in fact against this new, postage-related development:

Patrick Madrid: “Atheists ‘go postal’ over new Mother Teresa stamp”

Right Pundits: “Mother Teresa Stamps Spark Controversy with Atheists”

Belief.net: “Sticky problem: atheists slam Mother Teresa stamp”

World Net Daily: “Atheists attack Mother Teresa”

To be fair, these are all very right-leaning websites that cater to their American Conservative audience, which is comprised of a strong Christian base, so it shouldn’t be surprising then that they have lumped one atheist group into the entire population of all atheists.  But, it doesn’t make it right.  And not all conservative blogs make this error, either:  The Christian Post reports on this with the headline of “Anti-Religion Group Chides USPS Over Mother Teresa Stamp.”  (But the author wastes no time marginalizing the atheists and agnostics as “freethinkers,” complete with snarky quotes around the word, in the first line of the story.)

A simple omission of the word “group” with regard to this story changes the tone and substance drastically.  It also removes much of the author’s credibility by revealing a very obvious bias off the bat.  And given how ridiculous the opposition to a Mother Teresa stamp is to just about everyone not part of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, it wouldn’t take much to show that they don’t have much credibility on these postage matters (given that they didn’t oppose MLK, Jr.’s stamp, apparently, because he was involved in civil rights and just-so-happened to be a minister).  But when it’s reduced to an attack on all atheists as a group, the retort fails as well.

When your opposition already makes themselves look ridiculous and marginalized, there’s no point in bringing yourself down with them.

(H/T Hot Air)