I don't think the blogs will ever coalesce aroud a single issue, it's not in the nature of the beast, imo. I don't think that's the function.
We can, however, produce some of the most informed citizens this country has ever seen.
Because we have taken the time to learn. But also because this technology allows us to accelerate our learning.
I have a friend who opened up a wonderful teahouse. She didn't know much about tea, though she was a very cultured woman.
She told me that if it weren't for the internet, it would have taken her several years to have learned about tea.
And because I like to visit her teahouse, I've learned a thing or two about tea as well.
Ooh! Ooh! Anita O'Day, "Tea for Two"
(YouTube courtesy of dogotokosite, at Newport Jazz Festival, 1958)
Anyway, back to learning.
One thing I think we all have experienced on the blogs is learning something we didn't know. That lightbulb goes on over our heads and pow! ... we get it.
Yeah, I know, I know, try and tell your nonblogging friends what you've learned on the blogs and usually gibbering results. Where to begin?
And politicians and CEOs and trad media don't like us because our goals are not the same as theirs.
And, perhaps, that our goals are manifold and multifold and myganzafold! We learn exponentially, if a subject gets our attention.
There's the first diaries, sometimes incoherent, other times crafted as flawlessly as any Columbia Journalism School Professor of the Olde School could ever ask.
But that's not the story.
The story is what happens next.
Other diaries are written. Some are picked apart almost immediately in the tear to understand, to learn what is going on and having the ability to do so with great technological speed.
And then the more substantive diaries appear and are challenged over and over in comments, and more is learned, not just the facts, but the analysis and what it means to us personally as well as all the other issues we are trying to comprehend in facing these times we live in.
And this doesn't just go on in the blog where we post our work. If the event that has gathered so much attention is written about, blogs all over the place will join in the analysis. If your work is attention-getting enough, you end up googling your screen name (using advanced search to delete the name of the blog you write at most so you get more refined hits) or the topic itself, to see if anyone else is talking about what interests you.
Everyone learns through this process.
We also learn the flip side which is how sometimes it's far more difficult than one would think to have a conversation at all about the events that have drawn our attention.
Then there are great emotional upheavals and cultural battles and such -- again, in accelerated time -- which eventually makes us see we don't even know how to approach the topic and have to learn that instead.
We have time to learn. And because of this we are some of the most well informed citizens in the USA, not just on the facts, but on what they mean. That's gotta be worth a thing or two.