Thursday, January 26, 2006

Blogosphere: the new picket line?

Discussing politics, religion, the war (the most recent one) with friends, someone noted how we don't see students out on the green (I live in a small college town) protesting "like they did in the 60's."
As the conversation ensued, these women posited substitute venues for protesting. The blogosphere was offered as an alternate commons to the town square. The blogosphere offers a lot to young liberal activists. It allows them a wider audience. It allows them to be anonymous if they wish.
Protesters also have a much better chance of being articulate when they have more than a 2.5' X 3' space on which to right a pithy slogan in 64 point font.
Question: do we still have the same sense of community in the blogosphere? I mean, it's easy to search for others who have the same sentiments and to post comments to their blog, but it's really hard to bring them a cup of coffee and a hug to express simpatico and solidarity.
I pass these guys: every morning They are bundled up against the cold, walking the street. They are of the 60's generation - at least their representatives in my hometown are. I honk and wave to be kind. I'm just not sure whether we'll see this kind of presence once the baby boomers trade their picket signs for lazy boys.
Yes, somehow its more impressive to show up in person, sometimes, placard in hand, fist raised to the sky. Can you imagine the Orange revolution or Tiananmen Square as virtual movements? Who would stop the tanks? Who would sing the songs? We need the blogosphere to facilitate such movements, to publicize them and to build support. But we need the energy presence and strength of real people in the flesh.

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