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Blogs - What are they good for?

Absolutely nothing!
Say it again!

Okay that's not fair.
The recent events are making me seriously look at what I (and all the other netheads) are doing.
I recently posted to a local Greensboro board about my thoughts on the state of the blogosphere.
I'll mirror part of that text here -
As a netizen and newborn blogger/vlogger, I'm wondering can any of this help anybody. Initially I helped him set up his site as an experiment. We were trying to see if we could find an alternative way to tell real human stories and bypass the barriers presented by traditional media. Little burps of gas and lava from the mountain and a nightmare of technical problems just trying to carry on the most rudimentary forms of electronic communication were all we achieved on the first try. Now this. Destruction on a massive scale. Thousands dead and/or dying. Whole villages leveled. Roads and tracks buckled and folded like ribbons. And Chad is going back into the heart of that. Between his straight day job of reporting for VOA and NPR he's going to try to put a human face and voice to what only appears as a body count and a 30 second news blurb. Can he do it? I hope so. But I have my doubts. The place was chaotic before a 6.2 quake. I imagine it hasn't improved any. So what does any of this have to do with us? Katrina wasn't that far away from Greensboro. Did netizens make a difference there? And what happens the next time a hurricane chews its way through NC? What brave soul will be on the front lines, blogging their experiences and the experiences of the people around them? And will that bring the National Guard in any faster? Are we all just a bunch of dreamy, head in the infocloud, early adopter dreamers? Well, what do you think?

And then there's the problem with tyrants and theocrats...
But that's another post.

Indonesian Earthquake

I just did a quick emergency post over at the Mount Merapi blog for my friend Chad.
There was a 6.2 earthquake in the area of Yogyakarta and thousands are dead and injured. Chad wasn't in the area at the time, but he is on his way back to report on the disaster.
I guess there are a bunch of people who feel like me this morning. Relieved because our friend/colleague/son/brother is safe, sickened because of the massive loss of life and unimaginable suffering, and freaked out knowing he's going back into this area to report. I was chatting with him while he was preparing to go, and my stomach was in knots. I can't even imagine what he must be feeling. In the end I realize the only thing I can do is help him get all sides of the story out, and hopefully that will make some kind of difference. And I know that if there's one person who can bring back something human and true, it's Chad.