Steph has started indulging in a nice habit, now that I’m getting my home office more mucked out; she’ll drag her chair into my office, along with some craft project such as knitting, and sit with me while I’m working. We may not talk much depending on how hard I’m concentrating, but she provides a comforting presence.
Today I was writing up a reaction to CNET’s interview with ITU Director Houlin Zhao for my work blog and she made reference to the story thread with Peter and Valentine in Ender’s Game (written by Orson Scott Card. For those of you who don’t know (or remember) the plot, Peter and Valentine are the brother and sister of the protaganist. While Ender is off in space learning how to lead armies and kill things efficiently, they’re back on Earth building up a power base through eloquent punditry using anonymous accounts on the worlds’ information networks. Their most successful identities are those of Demosthenes and Locke, a virtual Odd Couple who are just about guaranteed to take opposing viewpoints on any matter.
Steph pointed out that between web forums and blogs, we’re starting to get to that stage. We’re a little more transparent than Card envisioned — as a blogger gets popular, the ability to find out who they really are (and more importantly, who is funding them) increases. Likewise, today’s bloggers are not nearly so dependent on corporate sponsorships to pay for their blogging, although there are a growing number of bloggers who are making money just by spouting their opinions.
[Editor: I’m down with that. Yo, phat cash deals for corporate blogging consluting? I am so there.]
What Card got right, though, is that more and more, a blogger’s real identity is less important than what they have to say and how they say it. You don’t have to be a law professor to be the Instapundit (hi, Glenn!)…okay, bad example, but you get my point. By the time the real identities of Demosthenes and Locke were unmasked in his book, they had such a loyal following that they were able to wield significant influence in global politics, even though they were children. Bloggers aren’t nearly that influential, but the constant clashing between big media and bloggers seems to prove that bloggers of all stripes are exerting more and more influence on the world around them.
Heady stuff. Where do I sign up? I’d be a benevolent dictator, I promise.
[Editor: I see I’m not the first person to remark on this.]