Outside the Perimeter
Courtesy of Department of Defense

If you haven’t already voted, you need to vote in the poll over at Delaware Liberal by 6:00 pm today. It is a rather tough choice. (I should mention to the reader out of full disclosure that someone has nominated my blog to be part of the process, which as they say at the Oscar Awards, just being nominated to be part of a very select group, is honor enough…..)

But in trying to decide on who I thought was the most influential blog this past year, I was at a loss. For how does one define whatever it is, that makes a blog: “the best blog of the year.” The confusion begins as soon as you say: ” Perhaps I like this one and should vote for it”…..

So what do you like? That is the conundrum….Let me list several examples: Do you like to comment? Then some blogs being more social than others, excel in that category. And if you like comments, do you enjoy “piefights” for sport, or do you prefer more substantive fodder, bordering along the lines of intellectual debate? Because even if you like commenting, styles differ around many blogs within this state.

Perhaps one could consider a blog by the number of scoops it accumulates over the year? Several blogs have broken substantial original stories this year. Some bloggers have actually become the news that they then report to others…..

Or is a blogger to be taken seriously by the number of public appearances on alternative media? Quite a few bloggers do just that, often on a weekly basis. One could call them “celebrities” in the media world. Is that a viable criteria for a choosing good blog, one that has feet in two different types of medias?

Or is a good blogger one who digs though reams of research and points out lies and mistruths, that up unto that point have been overlooked and would have led to catastrophic consequences if they had continued unnoticed?

Does one base a good blogger based on style? Too harsh or too gentlemanly would knock one out of the running? And is spelling and punctuation even important in this day and age?

Perhaps a good blogger should be based on influence. How many influential people look to see what has been written lately, and base their daily decisions on which way the wind seems to blow throughout the blog? How many real events have changed because of a blog would be another way of stating it.

Or does the blogger who hits hard at corruption and lies and innuendo, and thereby keeps the entire community honest, become the one who best represents the community.

Maybe the better blogger is the one who has multiple one liner posts that say “So and so has a post over here….” or again, maybe it’s the one who takes up two or three pages by covering all angles of one topic with great depth, thereby allowing the reader to become an expert in one reading.

Is the better blogger the one who writes on one topic, or the one how has no favorite topic and bounces around all over the news feeds?

Is the better blogger the one who writes independently, or the one who filters the local blog scene, to where everyone goes to in order to find out what there is to read today’s hot topic?

Bottom line, there are a myriad of traits that have become blogging over this year….There are niches of each category that have been carved out by a different person, that have become that person’s specialty, and are easily recognized by other bloggers. So like a newspaper that has different sections, a reporter, an editorialist, a feedback section, a sports page, a “living” page, the obituaries, our blogging world has its same.

When seen as a whole, however, that is when one can appreciate the quality with which we have been bestowed…

Let me give an example. With the wealth of talent at Delaware Liberal, I mean 5 contributors, it serves as the liberal news feed. Often with the question of “I wonder what is going on, ” I look over the daily entries and something usually becomes intriguing. For with 5 contributors if a newsworthy event happened, no doubt one of them picked up on it……This blog has become the draw for liberal commentary, often featuring comments from the “other side”, by that I mean Sussex County.

First State Politics, presents the other side of the news spectrum. Again blessed by a wealth of contributors, there is usually an opinion that either makes enough good sense, or makes so little sense at all, that it generates a wealth of responses. FSP is the draw for comments from the other side, the nucleus around which the little electrons fly.

The Colossus of Rhody, one of the earliest blogs in the state, probably has one of the most extensive blog rolls in the state…It often takes over the News Journal’s job and bust’s on dopey letters that actually bypass the dopey editorial board’s censorship and eventually become published. Although it has several contributors, most often the postings are attributed to Hube.

Then there are the dual blogs. These are tag teams of two people who both post on a regular basis. DWA recently has acquired Mat Marshal, formerly of Soapbox fame, who posts alongside Mike Mathews. This blog often breaks stories of local interest, and has a vibrant comment section.

Delaware Watch has been a mainstay of the Delaware scene for in blogger time frames, a long time. Recently it has became a dual blog with the addition of Stephan Crocket, although unfairly and out of habit, it is still considered by most to be Dana Garrett’s blog…..

Delaware Way, brings stories to the mainstream. Where does she find this stuff I often marvel. With a wealth of comments on others blogs, and featuring other’s stories on her blog, she mixes the sauce that uniquely make Delaware a vibrant blogging community. I am trying to think of a blog where I have not seen her name. Her importance within our community cannot be overrated. She is our social butterfly.

And now to the “Rangers”. These solo activists often have a particular cause with which they are attached. Kilroy has locked in on Education, particularly that of his Red Clay District. Sincerely dedicated to improving education he has exposed inadequacies and poked holes in ineffective administration, often illuminating for the first time, excesses promulgated by our “departments of education” whether they be large or small…..In the meantime, “our kids don’t know nothin…”

Tommywonk has taken on wind power, among other causes. During the fight, I made it a point to click on to “wonk” first to see if new developments had occurred. If they had, it was there, with links….Tommywonk represented the fight during on Delaware’s news station, WDEL. He was at the PSC meetings, a rally in Rehoboth, and WGMD in Sussex County, sometimes quite early in the morning…..

Maria Evans has occasionally scooped Tommywonk when it came to wind, a feat worthy of honorable mention in itself. Often doing the legwork herself, making the calls to solidify a story, she has provided the precise caliber of ammunition necessary, and we certainly hope she continues to do so.

Although she is far from what her blog’s name implies, Delaware Curmudgeon as entered the foray this year in 2007, often providing the clearcut biker’s insight and perspective that are sometimes lacking and much needed within our blogging community.

The cause of freedom, a worthy cause in itself, often mixed with a sharpened economic perspective can be found digitalized at the Federalist, aka 2007.

What makes Delaware…..Delaware? Mike Mahaffie keeps us focused. A picture is worth a 1000 words….(How many words are represented by a picture of 88888’s?) The little things: water tanks, USGS markers, sunsets, all line up to make us realize we have a state worth fighting for, that it is the little idiosyncrasies that make up the wondrous whole.

Staying grounded would be my characterization of this next player. When one goes too far on a limb, Pencader Days calls them out. Often as I cross his blog I realize just what it is that makes life important. And that is a gift that adults readily appreciate from one another….Whether it is to laugh, or to cry, I always leave this blog better than I enter………………

MBA, Merit Bound Alley, after months of slumber has again began to rumble this latter part of December. Reports of smoke and the smell of sulphur have been reported by the natives. A scientific team has been dispatched.

That’s it. If you haven’t voted, why not? Head over to Delaware Liberal, and look to the Left, at the top of the page.

As we go into election year, we will have partisan bickering (I hope, it’s fun) as well as the common sharing of ideas…..We have the opportunity to free our state government from secrecy (again) as well as force the candidates by our dialogs to address real problems and not those of their own making. And we will have the opportunity to move wind power forward, by exposing and eliminating the roadblocks placed along the path towards cheap clean energy.

2008 should be a good year…..But after taking the time to look back, one has to say that among Delaware’s blogging world, 2007 was amazing……..