A biographer of Benjamin Franklin fielded an interesting question at a Smithsonian Institution symposium. If he were alive today, would Ben Franklin be a blogger?
Walter Isaacson, once Time magazine’s managing editor and the CEO of CNN, ultimately answered with an affirmation of today’s decentralized media. “All the way through [America’s] life as a country, you have low barriers of entry to the technology of information… For a very brief period in our country’s history, approximately from 1940 to the year 2000, you have a concentration of media where it’s a higher barrier to entry… Then the internet blows all that away.” He notes that in New Orleans there’s one monopoly newspaper, but “there’s probably a thousand bloggers, all attacking the mayor of New Orleans at any given moment!”
He concludes that Franklin would have a very thoughtful web site – though the frugal founding father might also be tempted to put his content behind a pay wall!