Monday, January 21, 2008

Review: Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation by Hugh Hewitt

2005, Published by Thomas Nelson

In Blog, Hugh Hewitt discusses the rise of the blogosphere and its impact upon politics, culture, religion and business. He calls this uprising an “Information Reformation” in that it is a reformation of the way people are getting their news and opinions. Instead of relying upon the “old media” which includes CNN and the ‘Big 3’ networks: ABC, CBS and NBC, people are increasingly using the web to get the news of the day.

The second chapter of this short book presents a historical account of the first Reformation of the Catholic Church. Basically, with the technological advancement of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg, Luther may never have been able to convince so many of the need for change. Indeed, Catholics within the faith had been advocating change against the greed and corruption of the church higher-ups for some time but without the ability to spread the message to large amounts of people, the change never came. Eventually (and I am skipping a ton of details) Luther was so disillusioned with the sale of indulgences by the Church that he came up with 95 points of discussion, or the 95 Theses. He wrote them in Latin and hammered them to the door of the church in Wittenberg. (Apparently, this was the primary way of opening discussion back then.) Someone, no one knows who took the Theses and translated it into German and then mass-produced and circulated it. Within two weeks the country of Germany knew who Luther was and what he stood for. From there is basically history, with the decline of the influence of the Roman Catholic Church and the beginnings of Protestantism. Without the printing press this sweeping reform might not have happened.

Mr. Hewitt’s point is that the same thing has happened with the blogosphere. With the advancement of technology, average U.S. citizens have the ability to fact check newspaper stories (ala Jayson Blair [Also, see this] and CBS’ Rathergate a.k.a. Memogate). And armed with a blog these average Joes can tell the world about what they have found.

But it’s not just politics that is impacted by the blogosphere. It is also an effective way to communicate any message be it Christianity, a new product or service, book, or even terrorism. Indeed, anyone who wants to talk about anything has a way to essentially mega-phone the voice.

Mr. Hewitt suggests that anyone who has a business also have a blog. It helps get the message out to customers and employees.

This book is short and very easy to read. I loved the part of the Catholic Reformation and the correlation between that and the Information Reformation. It was enlightening. Also, it is an encouraging book for those of us bloggers. This book gives some ideas on how to get your blog noticed and also expounds on the potential for bloggers-for-hire, akin to a lobbyist type position.

Read this book if you are interested the history of the blogosphere, the future of blogosphere and how to get into it if you’re not.

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