The reactions of several columnists from nearly ten years ago, when the MSM met the upstart Blog. Some were prescient, others dismissive. Note William Safire's grudging acceptance that the "minor" phenomenon would at least enter the lexicon.
In an upbeat Independence Day column in The Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan, the incurable optimist, wrote about all ''the lights that didn't fail'' America -- from cops and firemen to peach-growing farmers and cancer-curing scientists, from local churches to TV comedians to blogging .
Blogging ? She explained the word as ''the 24/7 opinion sites that offer free speech at its straightest, truest, wildest, most uncensored, most thoughtful, most strange. Thousands of independent information entrepreneurs are informing, arguing, adding information.''
Blog is a shortening of Web log . It is a Web site belonging to some average but opinionated Joe or Josie who keeps what used to be called a ''commonplace book'' -- a collection of clippings, musings and other things like journal entries that strike one's fancy or titillate one's curiosity. What makes this online daybook different from the commonplace book is that this form of personal noodling or diary-writing is on the Internet, with links that take the reader around the world in pursuit of more about a topic.
To set one up (which I have not done because I don't want anyone to know what I think), you log on to a free service like blogger.com or xanga.com, fill out a form and let it create a Web site for you. Then you follow the instructions about how to post your thoughts, photos and clippings, making you an instant publisher. You then persuade or coerce your friends, family or colleagues to log on to you and write in their own loving or snide comments.
''Will the blogs kill old media?'' asked Newsweek, an old-media publication, perhaps a little worried about this disintermediation leading to an invasion of alien ad-snatchers. My answer is no; gossips like an old-fashioned party line, but most information seekers and opinion junkies will go for reliable old media in zingy new digital clothes. Be that as it may (a phrase to avoid the voguism that said ), the noun blog is a useful addition to the lexicon.