One might require a Ford Foundation grant to convincingly address the following question: What effect is the blogosphere (and alternate media in general) having on the prospects for genuine, organized political reform? Unfortunately, as I have no such resources at my disposal, I must try to come to some sort of conclusion based on nothing more than my own humble observations.
Empirically, after being immersed in the world of blogs of various kinds for some number of years now, my present view is that, at least where political action is concerned, the blogosphere may be doing, at best, only a small amount in assisting the winds of change. Simply, if not necessarily simplistically, put, despite the wide array of excellent blogs covering numerous areas vital to public life, my sense is that the many impassioned, well wrought, and sometimes even brilliant electronic scribbling that can be found on the blogosphere is not demonstrating the capacity to act as much of propulsive force for genuine, organized, political change.
Perhaps I shouldn't expect the blogosphere to have anything like the potential I would like it to have, and, yet, I am still disappointed in what I sense is, for the most part, a collective waste of energy coming from that part of the blogoshpere that seems to desire having a very different set of values in place informing our politics. Then, of course, perhaps my premise is wrong, and some nascent, ready to turn the established order on its head movement- though not the Teaparty- is, as I write, coalescing as a result of a few inspired blogs. Unfortunately, instead, my sense is that much of the energy that might be dedicated to the sort of action I have in mind is instead being spent dissecting, analyzing, and sometimes just plain fulminating against the established political order.
These are all laudable pursuits, even fulminating can, at least to some modest degree, be defended as useful, but, at the same time, I feel that, for good reasons, the forum that blogs provide overwhelmingly tend to dissipate the energies of their collective readership.
In the meantime, the established order, at least where the economy is concerned, seems to be in a well evolved state of epic upheaval, and if that perception is indeed accurate, history tells us that ineluctably the political sphere will soon experience its own brand of foundational tumult.
And while I'm quite prepared to give some unspecified sum of credit to the blogosphere for helping to assist change in the hearts and minds of some number of the populace, it seems to me that whatever effect the blogosphere is having as an agent of change, amounts to, at best, an engine for ad hoc responses to the dismal political status quo.