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What Is It About Blogs?

Kristen Fowler Lindsey - Friday, May 20, 2005

What is it about blogs that fascinate the media and so many others as well?

Yesterday a story ran on National Public Radio about a Los Alamos employee who started a blog for fellow employees to voice their frustrations with the lab and propose solutions. Anonymous posting is allowed.

It has been a rough year or so for the lab, which has had some public incidents of high-profile injuries and a perceived security leak that precipitated the Director to shut the lab down for 7 months to review safety and security procedures (the "security leak" turned out to be a "clerical error). It was this shutdown that prompted the start of the employee blog.

Then some congressmen found out about the blog and read passages. It was apparently disturbing enough to them that during hearings about the contract renewal for the lab a Congresswoman liberally referenced the blog. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan actually suggested closing the lab, citing the blog as a symptom of all that is perceived to be wrong there.

Enough of the recap. I heard this during my morning coffee and it tempted me to ask the question, "What is it about blogs that fascinate and scare some of us?" Does this congresswoman see blogging as the problem?

If you look closely at  LANL: The Real Story, it seems evident that the source of the sometimes nit-picky complaints are not a result of the act of blogging, but of the more interesting social phenomenon of what people do when allowed to express their opinions anonymously.

So are blogs considered a problem? Or, have the actions people take on blogs always been a problem but this new means of expression is giving these behaviors more publicity?

I am getting a little philosophical this week.

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