Saturday, August 23, 2008

Can Comments Be Considered Micro-Blogs?

On my walk from the subway this morning, I noticed this morning's Metro front-page headline, "Bloggers face calls for Palin Restraint". It begins with how Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin revealed that her 17-year-old unmarried daughter is five months pregnant, "following a weekend of simmering allegations on the blogosphere that Palin’s nearly 5-month-old son with Down syndrome was really her grandchild".

The article cites how the liberal blog Daily Kos posted circumstantial evidence that V.P. candidate Sarah Palin has really faked her own pregnancy to hide that her daughter was pregnant.

The only problem is that, unless I'm reading a different article, the Daily Kos author makes no such allegations. The "circumstantial evidence" and conspiracy theorists are only to be found in the comments section of the blog.

Which raises an interesting question: Are the people who leave comments on websites actually micro-blogging? If not, how do we classify such commentary and differentiate it from "real" blog authors?

The Daily Kos is a self-proclaimed institution of the liberal blogosphere. This means that 1) there's no pretense of objectivity, and 2) it's going to naturally attract readers from one end of the political spectrum.

But to refer to comments left on a blog post as blogs in and of themselves seems wrought with danger. The Catch-22 is this... If comments are encouraged then any extremist nutjob can undermine the credibility of the entire space; or else, if comments are more intensely moderated, then cyberspace will become a far less interactive environment.

What all this really gets to is defining what a blog is, and how it's distinctive from a simple expression of thought. Of course, the irony is that that definition will only come about through the same type of commentary that it is meant to differentiate itself from.


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