Live From Blogworld: The Political Blogosphere in Transition

Here at the 2008 Blogworld and New Media Expo, there is plenty of evidence that rapid change in the blogosphere will alter the way that bloggers blog and the news consumer gets information.

The key is content. The way content is delivered, the way in which it is used by the blogger, and the way a blog community digests it and disseminates it further is driving the innovations in blogs, extending their influence, and ultimately changing  the manner by which people get information

The growth of video, spurred on by YouTube and other video sites as well as blogging platforms that have become user friendly for uploading audio and video to a webpage, has created nothing less than a revolution in blogging. In fact, the changes that are occurring are so sweeping that the terms "blog" and "blogging" -- at least the way those terms are generally understood now -- may be anachronistic.

In the political blogosphere, Crooks and Liars on the left and HotAir on the right have become top rated sites largely devoted to airing videos of the latest political news. Successful bloggers have incorporated video segments into their blogposts, sharing with their readers the impact that a visual accompaniment has on a story.

One recent example was the effect a video taken by a blogger had on the presidential race. A diarist at the conservative happened to be sitting on an airplane behind former Democratic National Committee chief Don Fowler and John Spratt, a prominent Democrat from South Carolina. Unbeknownst to the two politicians, the diarist began filming their conversation -- a dialogue that showed them talking despairingly of Sarah Palin and chuckling about the GOP's bad luck in having Hurricane Gustav make landfall just when their convention was getting underway.

The video became a sensation largely driven by bloggers who forced the mainstream media to cover the story. Fowler and Spratt eventually apologized, but in the public's mind, the former DNC chairman was associated with the Obama campaign and it appeared that the men were unmindful of the suffering caused by the hurricane.

When I began blogging four years ago, "blogs" were little more than hobbies for most, albeit an addictive, all consuming hobby. Content was derived almost exclusively from the mainstream media and The Great Game was to catch the MSM in some revealing falsehood or obviously biased statement. The press yowled in protest whenever a particularly incisive critique made its way from blogs to other mainstream news outlets. They weren't used to the kind of scrutiny given by bloggers back then, and their sensitivity revealed the cocoon in which the MSM wrapped itself.

Today, content is far more diversified. Largely because with the growth of the internet, there has been an explosion of content driven sites that cater to blogs and deliver information in many different ways. Many of these sites are connected to old media -- most newspapers today have several blogs devoted to everything from politics to entertainment --  and many of these bloggers/journalists offer opinions, do original reporting, add video, audio, access to online data bases, and, in many cases, link to a newspaper archive of riches that any blogger hungry for content can download to their heart's content.