Now that it has gotten to the point where everyone with a computer can make themselves heard, we are beginning to see a diversity of opinion and viewpoints that will make the traditional news media look tame.
For example, in this small county we have writers who mirror time-honored journalistic traditions, bloggers whose lyric prose makes us want to go out and walk barefoot in streams, and bloggers who keep us in touch with the endearing bits of small-town life.
We have farm bloggers, real estate bloggers, alternate lifestyle bloggers, and church bloggers. More people are joining in every day.
We also have bloggers like myself whose shameless self-promotion rouses the ire of anonymous bottom-feeders who traffic in innuendo and rumors.
In short, we have come to a time where every crossroad community can air their opinions, hopes, dreams, and dirty laundry all at once. It’s like having a daily dose of Mother Earth News, The New York Times Editorials, and the National Enquirer, all sized to fit your little town. Local blogging is becoming more like mainstream media every day.
It may seem overwhelming to think of all of those opinions floating around loose, but it’s probably better that the good, bad, and degrading commentary be out where it can be evaluated. It could be a useful indication of the mental health of the community.
At this point, it seems that the ratio of uplifting to degrading commentary is about 20 to one. I hope it stays that way.
UPDATE: The trio of anonymous bottom feeders seem to have taken down their website this morning and scuttled off into a darker place to hide. Life in the country returns to normal for now.
UPDATE #2: Doug Thompson found the person behind the anonymous website that was spewing degrading comments about local officials and local bloggers. It was a Virginia Tech computer science student who used the pseudonym Andrew Ward Hayden to create a website which he called the "Floyd Free Press". He has now gone online to apologize for his errors in judgment. You can read all about it on Blue Ridge Muse.