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Blogs: flavor of moment or publishing revolution?

Blogs: flavor of moment or publishing revolution?>I’m so tired already of the hype about blogs that I’m considering shutting mine down. And I don’t even have one.

Which makes me the only person in the country without a blog, short for Web log.

These highly personal Web sites mix news, information, opinion and observations in a format built to encourage comments and responses between the blog owner and the reader.

It’s all about the people’s journalism today, the regular guy’s ability to be an instant writer, editor and publisher, carrying on with anyone who bothers to stop in.

Blogs are a media darling at the moment, the subject of glowing reports about how they keep varying points of view in the mix of war coverage some find too confined to the view of U.S. military leaders.

For this, I find some blogs helpful, offering perspectives that I don’t normally follow.

And I’m not really tired of blogs. Rather, I wish I had more time to read the good ones and discover more between reading the paper that pays my mortgage and reading online versions of other traditional newspapers.

A site called www.Kuro5hin .org, founded by a former William & Mary student, takes blogs in a different direction. Rusty Foster, who now lives in Maine, calls his approach “collaborative blogging.”

At Kuro5hin, anyone is allowed to submit an article. But registered users get a sneak preview. They decide if an article gets published online.

Site members offer comments and changes, then grade the work. If a story gets enough positive ratings, it shows up on the site. Registered users recommend whether to post it or to “Dump it!”

The site automatically determines whether an article has reached the posting or dumping threshold. Kuro5hin’s review system makes getting a story on the site’s front page difficult.

I probably couldn’t convince anyone to post this column or any of my articles on the Kuro5hin front page. The people who submit articles there are way too smart for me.

Free from that obstacle, let me just say this: While blogs are cool and often interesting, entertaining and frequently informative, this movement is mostly just trendy. In a few years, blogs or collaborative publishing won’t be around.

People will get bored with blogging. They’ll grow tired of being editors and reviewing other people’s articles.

Blogger and former newspaper reporter J.D. Lasica doesn’t think so. His “New Media Musings” blog is at

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“Not everyone will keep it up, but plenty of others will take their place,” he said. “As traditional media becomes bigger and more impersonal, Web logs are one of the few outlets where ordinary folks can still have their voices heard.”

I also suggested to Lasica that blogs really aren’t changing how people communicate. He disagreed.

“Instead of a one-way conversation, where a cadre of professionals holds forth on the news, the Web log universe connects people with other people and ensures that alternative voices and points of view are heard,” he said. “Long after a reporter has finished a story and gone on to her next topic, the ‘blogosphere’ will continue thrashing her story about, adding new angles, insights and perspectives.”

Finally, in an e-mail conversation that ended up working a lot like a blog, I informed J.D. that blogs such as his would be history in a few years.

“That’s what they said two years ago,” J.D. replied, “and instead Web-logging has become a mainstream phenomenon”

Sure it has.

All that stuff is as good as dead before you know it. Just like those overblown “personal computers” and “cellular phones” I keep hearing about.

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