Glenn Reynolds is a professor of law at the University of Tennessee, updates his wildly popular weblog InstaPundit several dozen times a day, regularly posts to another blog hosted by MSNBC.com, writes regular essays for TCSDaily, Cato Unbound and several other publications, composes and produces music, co-hosts a podcast with his wife, contributes to another podcast hosted by Pajamas Media, and still found time to write An Army of Davids. [Disclosure: my own blog, Daimnation! - which has been fortunate enough to get a few "Instalanches" over the years - is also a Pajamas Media site.]
Personally, I’d love it if he wrote a book about time management, but the book he did produce is informative and thought-provoking in its own right. An Army of Davids is subtitled “How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government and Other Goliaths,” and it describes how new technologies can allow individuals, groups and small businesses to become successful and effective even in fields dominated by large corporations and government agencies.
His first example, surprisingly, is not blogging but homebrewing. (Yes, Reynolds makes his own beer, too.) Reynolds notes that Americans got tired of the limited selection of beers available in bars and corner stores, and through a process of trial and error, began creating their own - which eventually forced the likes of Miller and Coors to improve the variety and quality of their own products. One homebrewer would hardly have made a dent; hundreds of thousands of them changed the beer market forever.
It’s the same thing with blogging. People got tired of what the TV news channels and major papers were doing — especially after the 9/11 attacks — and gradually turned to the opinionated, feisty, and often very funny writing at pioneering blogs like, well, InstaPundit. The growth of this medium and its influence has been absolutely mind-boggling, with the same mainstream media outlets who once sneered at blogging starting up their own blogs, and both major U.S. political parties inviting bloggers to cover major events and even collaborate and policies and strategy.
Even the biggest criticism of blogging — that bloggers piggyback on the work of the same major media outlets they criticize — is becoming less of a factor, with more and more original reporting showing up in the blogosphere. (See the two Michaels - Yon and Totten - for examples of quality journalism produced without the backing of major corporations or governments.)