Remember when people were afraid of bloggers?
(I know: they still are. But back in the day people were really afraid of bloggers. “End of democracy as we know it” afraid.)
Ten years ago, when I was working as the deputy director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet, we held so many discussions and conferences designed to help the establishment understand this crazy thing called blogging.
Back then, you could smell the fear on traditional, mainstream journalists: bloggers don’t have codes of conduct like we do. They aren’t trained. They don’t fact check. They get paid to write opinions. They spread rumors and lies. They’re mean. They’re angry. They have a bone to pick. And the naive Americans who read them will be misled into believing the egregious and extreme views they post.
Some establishment insiders back in the olden days thought that blog posts about candidates — or that simply linked to candidate websites — should be regulated by the Federal Election Commission.
But the truth is that bloggers have been breaking headlines for more than a decade now. We’re not just the alternative voice. Bloggers carry the investigative impulse and passion that once drove some of the best journalists. Bloggers are innovative, agile, and in many ways incredible honest about their beliefs, experiences, and ideologies. Blogging is something that the most powerful traditional media outlets engage in and that the most successful new media properties were built on. We have evolved, become more sophisticated, more visual, and more hyper-connected.
Today in 2014, I work in issue advocacy — a profession in which blogging and blogger outreach are imperative to informing the public and engaging voters in activism. We can’t be successful without bloggers and blogging communities.
That’s why I wanted to be involved as a host of Blog Bash this year. Supporting bloggers and connecting the blogger community to resources, access, and new distribution channels makes us better. We need to connect, learn, be inspired by each other, and use our collective experiences and voices to make the movement stronger.
I hope you’ll join us at Blog Bash this year.