TB is working through a large collection of books he has wanted to read for months but hasn’t had the time. One he would recommend is
While is a few years old, it nonetheless gives an fascinating account of the history of the American blogosphere, it’s biggest casualties such as Kerry and Dan Rather, as well as advice to anyone wanting to expand their influence. However throughout the book Hewitt continually compares the power of blogging to that of Martin Luther. On first impression this is a slightly pretentious and over ambitious analogy. Hewitt writes;
What is really going on is an information reformation similar in consequence to the Reformation that split Christianity in the sixteenth century. The key to that Reformation was the wide dissemination of Scripture among the increasingly literate laity. Today we do not have a canon, but we do have an appetite for information, the arrival of new technology of distribution, and a million willing content providers. The old guard of old media is in a situation very similar to the Roman Catholic Church’s situation when Luther arose to challenge the pope’s authority. Once Luther’s spark set the fire, the availability of editions of the Bible made the collapse of the Church’s authority inevitable, though the struggle was long and often bloody.
You should thus be persuaded that the last couple of years have been important for blogging. But it is much bigger than that. That’s like saying 1517 was a big year for Martin Luther. Both statements are true but do not communicate the scope of the change that was initiated in those years. To get a glimpse of what is coming, try examining what followed Luther’s challenge to the authority of Rome. As Luther was to Leo, so bloggers are to MSM, and Luther’s impact wasn’t limited to the Vatican.
While it is true that the MSM are under threat and are running scared, is it really realistic to compare this online revolution to that of the 16th century? The very suggestion brings the line of bloggers being self-obsessed, arrogant and self indulgent immediately to mind. On the one hand the significance of the Reformation came down to the printing press and the free distribution of text. Surely blogging is just the same idea via an alternative method of distribution? A mere development, but the other hand Hewitt proves the other side of the coin can just as easily be argued. Have we, or are we, witnessing the second Reformation?