Blogs are history’s scratchpad

If as Phil Graham once observed, news is history’s first draft, then blogs are history’s scratchpad. This new medium in the making is finding its place by offering greater intimacy and immediacy than traditional media, and above all, by giving voice to those left voiceless in the ever vaster wasteland of corporate media. Of course blogs can be unreliable, but like any scratchpad, they can also be quickly revised and corrected, or simply tossed away.

Blogs obviously have plenty of immediate impact on current events, but as the corpus of scribbles grows, it is interesting to contemplate the role blog entries will have when we look back on them a decade or so from now. For the first time, historians will have a pool of present-tense musings from a wide range of people reflecting the public mood as events actually unfolded. Imagine if we had this sort of information pool for, say, 1941, or for the McCarthy era? How different our histories might have been.