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New Media Watch

Every once in a while I check Technorati to see what other blogs are linking to Dartblog. Yesterday I discovered that an anonymous Dartmouth Livejournaler—someone called hipporetriever—is writing about the Trustee election. Neat.

BUT: Don’t waste your time poring over the writings of any plebes like Hippo Man (Correction: That’s Hippo Woman.) or me. “In this age of sound bites, blogs and political rhetoric, it can be difficult to get the facts,” the front page of amusingly booms on this, the first weekend of heavy voting in the present Trustee election.

What that passage means, of course, is that Dartmouth’s administration—well-intentioned as always but quite often just not very good—is displeased that there exist alternate sources of information. Of course, the College will keep up its old-fashioned campaigning in this election (a colorful postcard with facts about the College was just received by alumni. It was intended to defuse Professor Smith’s recent letter but actually did not contest him squarely on any points.) but that doesn’t mean it can’t shake its fists at those dern blogs.

Dartmouth, by the bye, has always had a problem with blogs. It seems that whenever the College’s quite husky public relations department loses control of the flow of data, it tries to clamp down. For example, in late 2005, some enterprising Dartmouth computer engineers tried to create something called Viewpoints, which would aggregate the latest photos and news and blog posts about Dartmouth. But it had a bug: It kept pulling in articles from student blogs like mine. So it was deep-sixed by the public affairs department.

The pleasant ending to all of this has been seen a thousand times over in industry after industry: control loses and democratic media wins.


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