According to an entry within Wikipedia, the term was first coined by Brad L. Graham on September 10, 1999 as a joke. It was then later coined by William Quick in 2002. The term was then quickly adopted and its use today describes the large number of blogs who pack an influential punch. Here is a little more history in regards to the word. The term resembles the older word logosphere (from Greek logos meaning word, and sphere, interpreted as world), the “the world of words”, the universe of discourse.
This article will highlight various events which have taken place online and off where the blogosphere has played a major role in the outcome. Although a single blogger such as Michael Arrington of TechCrunch.com can wield a significant amount of influence, no one thus far has been able to stand up to the enormous amount of influence the blogosphere can have as a single entity.
- Dunkin Donuts Pulls Ad – After Dunkin donuts aired a television commercial featuring Rachel Ray wearing a black and white fringed scarf, bloggers took offense as the scarf was commonly known to be worn by Muslim extremists. After thousands of bloggers made their thoughts known and hundreds of comments posted on the Dunkin Donuts website condemning the ad, it was pulled off the air.
- Sony Labeled Epic Fail – On Oct. 31, 2005 Mark Russinovich broke the story on his blog, describing how Sony BMG Music Entertainment distributed a copy-protection scheme with music CDs that secretly installed a rootkit on computers. Afterwards, the story spread like wildfire to what seemed like every tech blog on the net. The outcry from the blogosphere was so great, Sony stopped producing the copy-protection scheme and then recalled all of the cds which contained the copy protection. Lawsuits were then filed against the company. Sony’s reputation will never be able to clean itself of this stain.
- The A.P. thinks they can charge for quotations – After word got out about how the A.P. sent a letter to The Drudge Retort website claiming that they were excerpting too much of their articles, the blogosphere blew up and gave the A.P. a lesson on Fair Use. With heavy hitting blogs going against the A.P. along with many other bloggers following suit, the A.P. eventually settled the claim and drew back it’s proposal to penalize those who quote their content in a meaningful way.
- Snakes On A Plane – Before this movie was even released, it gained a huge following with fan sites emerging all over the web. After Josh Friedman’s blog entry the movie was then discussed on a number of other internet portals which then lead to bloggers creating songs, apparel, post art, pages of fan fiction, parody films, and mock movie trailers. In fact, the response from the blogosphere prompted New Line Cinema to go back and add five days of reshooting.
- Dan Rather urged into retirement – After Dan Rather reported on a phony memo on CBS purported to show that President George W. Bush received preferential treatment and failed to fulfill his National Guard duty 30 years prior, the blogosphere erupted into a CSI like investigation. Blogs like Free Republic, Little Green Footballs and Power Line raised questions about the documents’ authenticity. This caused other conservative blogs to also investigate the matter. In the end, the blogosphere played a major role in showing how CBS had been duped and how Dan Rather had reported on a phony story. This lead to Dan Rather being urged into retirement by CBS
These five events are proof that the blogosphere as a single entity can play a significant role. The web is filled with noise, but when a large number of people tune into the same frequency, the noise becomes overwhelming to the point where an action needs to be taken. This action is usually in favor of the blogosphere.
In writing this post, a few questions crossed my mind. Can the blogosphere in general be considered a democracy? Is it a play on Majority rules Minority rights? Do you think it’s a good or bad thing that the blogosphere can influence anything, whether it be a critical decision, a law or an action made by a company?
I’m also interested in any other events which the blogosphere may have played a role in, minus things within a political nature.
Special thanks to those who helped me come up with this list via Twitter.
I believe that blogging has already made a big difference!
That indeed seems to be the case the majority of the time. Blogs end up becoming a voice for people online. Many voices put together equates to alot of noise!
I think your mentality falls in line with one of our Hive members who believes the blogosphere is more like a MOB with a mob mentality. I don’t think anyone can keep the blogosphere in check. Just get out of the way when they come storming through!
We agree with the commenter above – we’re not massive fans of the word blogosphere but it is the best way to describe it. We believe blogs are a double edged sword these days – providing value and innovation to the world but also having some negative aspects as well. We will say the positive do outweigh the negative it seems!
Sometimes the blogosphere (which is a name I hate but I haven’t seen a better one yet) is ever vigilant and achieves some good things. As Ryan mentions above, many times plagiarism by mainstream media has been brought to light by bloggers. I would include the exposure of Sony here. I don’t know enough about the Dan Rather story because, quite frankly, not living in the US I have very little interest in US mainstream TV news.
However, sometimes it goes wrong and gets torches-and-pitchforks-at-the-castle-gates nasty. The Dunkin Donuts is one example. The public crucifixion of Sarah Lacy interviewing Mark Zuckerberg at SxSW is another one.
The question I have is who is vigilantly, but dispassionately, watching the blogosphere? Who pulls the blogosphere back into line? It’s certainly not mainstream media which tends to default to a position of contempt (when it notices it at all).
The ‘sphere is indeed becoming a more potent force in politics, culture, and media. Also remember that Trent Lott was forced to resign his leadership position partly due to outrage in the blogosphere.
The “Snakes On A Plane” phenom was fun — I played along, got the t-shirt, went to the movie opening night – but even with all of the online buzz, the movie pretty much flopped, commercially. Hey, we tried!
The blogosphere does a good job policing itself, wouldn’t you say?
Interesting list. I think bloggers are also responsible for uncovering numerous Mainstream Media plagiarim issues and notoriously, all those photoshopped pictures designed to create more drama than reality.
One thing I noticed while doing research for this article is the amount of information out their which highlights how much of an influence political blogs have on votes, issues, laws ect. Blogging and politics seem to be one of those lovely relationships like peanut butter and jelly.