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After reading Gillmor’s, We the Media, I had my eyes opened to so many new ideas.  I was particularly struck by the idea that every American knows exactly where they were the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated and on September 11, 2001.  I know I can remember that morning like it was yesterday.  I also remember the following day when I went to my regular morning class and was met with a lecture about getting on with life to prove that Americans cannot be stopped.  I never thought I would hear a lecture like that, a lecture like that at my normal university, a lecture like that when I listened between the lines I saw fear in my professors eyes and confusion in the eyes of each of my classmates.  As I walked home in a daze that day, I logged onto my computer and found my favorite sites covered in photos of the planes crashing into the towers.  More importantly, Gillmor pointed out that the “up to the minute” information would have been lost without the internet and television.  I never really stopped to think about 9/11 without the Net.  I never really stopped to think about any day without the Net.

Gillmor specifically mentions a few blogs that changed after the September 11th attacks.  Tamim Ansary speaks openly about an Afghan-American’s experience after the 9/11 attacks.  It opens new doors into thought and experience many “revenge hungry” (as he calls them) Americans may not have thought about prior to readings his blog.  Not only is he honest about what is going on in Afghanistan these days, but he speaks his mind on the success of the war and the appropriateness of the American response to the attacks.

You may be asking, why is this relevant in February of 2008.  Well, Gillmor proposes that it is relevant because with the evolution of blogs and other resources, we all have a voice.  Any one of us could be Tamim.  Any one of us could connect a single voice to larger media community.  It is no longer about what “the man” has to say each day on the six o’clock news; it is about what humankind has to say.  Tamim’s experience proves that a single voice can be heard when there are people that are willing and ready to listen.

However, the availability of instant news and, in turn, instant response can cause some problems.  Amy Cohen points out that most people hit the comment button when they have a bone to pick with the author.  How much time do you think we take before writing a comment?  I know if something really bothers me, I just click, type and send.  Maybe the instantaneous ability to speak our minds should come with a required filter.  You know, a small device attached to our computer that requires at least an hour before the comment can be sent.  Of course, we could always go back and delete something we wrote, but maybe we should stop and think first and write later.

I am going to take my own advice this week…results to follow.


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