.Main Line Suburban Life > Opinion As I See It: Blogging is here to stay, and people should just get used

to it Published: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 By Carla J. Zambelli I did not set out in life to blog any more than I set out to be a community activist. It just happened. Call it fate, call it kismet, appointed officials decide to all started. And it grew from my own reality show. Maybe we or call it a means to an end when elected and turn deaf ears on the public. For me, that is how it there. Sometimes I think blogging is like living in should call it “Real Bloggers?”

The impetus of this editorial stems from a column by Main Line Media News executive editor Tom Murray, who wrote about blogging and Radnor Township. It was titled “Yes, Radnor Township residents, there is a police chief.” Well, Tom, yes Radnor does, but between the time that Radnor bloggers and others were speculating on more trouble at home at 301 Iven Ave. and when you wrote your editorial, some time passed. And I still think the Radnor bloggers got it right, so we’ll have to agree to disagree on that one. After all, it was those Radnor bloggers who first broke open Maine vacations, wasn’t it? Yes, Radnor has bloggers now. I used to think that municipal code prohibited it, along with criticizing elected officials in public, but it’s a brave new world out there. The turmoil in Radnor caused by quite simply, politics as usual, has caused Radnor residents to find their voices. I think it’s healthy. Healthier than pretending there are no problems or being afraid of elected officials and political machines. So let’s talk about being a blogger, or “citizen journalist.” Sometimes we write about what we had for dinner, and sometimes we write about who that politician had dinner with. Sometimes we are just giggling over political shenanigans and a political-blog lampoon is born. Do politicians like blogs and bloggers? Heck no. Ending up on a blog is like being caught outside in your underwear. Politicians are all about the image, and when the emperor has no clothes, the image can get tarnished, can’t it? I think blogging is a way for the common man to level the playing field. I like to think bloggers can make a difference. After all, look at what blogging has done for the billboard issue in Haverford. Look at eminent domain in Ardmore. Politicians, despite protestations to the contrary, know that blogs can be good for them. Sometimes they will release a statement or will even create a blog during an election cycle. Simply put: they like it when they can control the output; they don’t like it when they can’t. I know Radnor Township doesn’t like being blog fodder anymore than Lower Merion, but I have to ask all those politicians and appointed officials out there why they give us so much to talk about. Why is blogging on the Main Line such a big deal? Is being a blogger like having chronic halitosis? Or do people who complain about blogs complain about them because they have not figured a way to use them to their own advantage yet? OK, I will admit I have a lot of opinions and am as politically inconvenient as the next local blogger. But so what? Is it better to go through life as what a blogger with the handle Politeia calls “sheeple?” I am amused by the festering

Petri dish that is Main Line politics and other local issues. Bloggers blog under catchy “handles,” as well as under their own names with or without a fun handle. People love to make a big hairy deal out of blogger anonymity. But pen names are definitely as American a tradition as apple pie. Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison were among our founding fathers who wrote under aliases. If alive today I bet they would embrace blogging as a communicative medium. Let’s take a peek at the relationship between bloggers and the traditional media. It is a symbiotic relationship and not always an easy one. Traditional newspaper reporting is an art form, and I love my newspaper. I love the feel of it, the crackle of the pages. But newspapers are struggling in this economy and the reality is there are fewer reporters to get the news out. I believe bloggers are getting scoop over traditional media at times today. That puts bloggers in direct competition at times with reporters. Bloggers are often vocal in their criticisms of traditional media and the media take the opposing point of criticism. Reporting and blogging are two different media. Blogging is opinion-based. Traditional reporting is fact-based. Where a blogger can and does interject his or her first-person feelings into an issue while writing about it, reporters and journalists report the news with the facts as they have them, devoid of personal commentary and feelings. They can’t, or all reporters would be writing for the editorial pages. I think bloggers and traditional reporters/journalists are like siblings. Sometimes there is sibling rivalry, and we’ll leave it at that. To wind this up I think blogging is here to stay, and people should just get used to it. Blogging is another way for people to have a voice in what matters to them. Much like this editorial page, I don’t see anything wrong with that. Carla J. Zambelli writes an occasional column for Main Line Media News.