Robert McCrum, literary editor at The Observer, asks a good question: Would Orwell have been a blogger? He thinks the great essayist would be appalled by the writing, but applaud the democracy of the web. An excerpt:
Now just in its second decade, the blogosphere is at once wonderful and horrible. For the global community, fumbling towards some common ground, the opportunity it affords for extraordinary cross-cultural interaction is liberating and unprecedented.
...Yet the democracy of the web is in danger of becoming a cacophonous nightmare. For every carefully crafted, thoughtful expression of opinion, there are a score of half-baked rants: ignorant, bilious, semi-literate and depressing.
...There's another thing that Orwell the great freelance would have been quick to identify: in the blogosphere, no one gets properly paid; its irresponsibility is proportionate to its remoteness from the cash nexus. Worse, the blogosphere, to which all journalists are now professionally committed, not only challenges the old infrastructure of print, but it also sponsors a new prolixity.
From the Orwellian point of view, it is the violence the internet does to the English language as much as its challenge to the journalistic infrastructure that is the biggest anxiety.