Reading Technotati's annual report "State of the Blogosphere" got me thinking about the recent history of blogging. The report underscores how much blogging has become an integral part of the internet.
Just a few years ago blogs were starting to get recognition as a new phenomenon in our culture. ("Blogs take on the mainstream" -BCC News, "Blog" named 2004 Merriam-Webster "Word of the Year". Today four of the top ten entertainment websites are blogs (including the top two)!
Blogs have also become a platform for launching personalities and products into the mass media. The blog FiveThirtyEight written by Nate Silver is a good example. Nate is a managing partner at Baseball Prospectus, a baseball statistical analysis firm. Nate invented a system which predicts the performance of Major League Baseball players and teams. (This past season he accurately predicted that the Tampa Bay Rays would follow up their last place 2007 effort with a trip to the playoffs in 2008).
In late October 2007 Nate began to apply his statistical prowess to politics. He began blogging at the liberal mega-blog Daily Kos under the username poblano. In March 2008 Silver launched the blog FiveThirtyEight.com and stepped out from anonymity. In less than a year he has become a well known expert on political polling. This was all made possible via blogging.
In an environment where "content is king" blogs provide a relatively quick and inexpensive way to establish yourself as an expert. Nate is a good example of effective blogging today.
Here is Nate Silver talking about the FiveThirtyEight and the 2008 presidential election on The Colbert Report: