a little help from my friendster

Writing about the woman in Kerry's almost-scandal, the New York Observer's Alexandra Wolfe observes:

"The point is that somewhere on the assembly line of media sausage production - whether it be in the land of Drudge, Fleet Street or ABC News the switch got flipped that identified Ms. Polier as a bona fide news story, one that would make the world forget about Janet Jackson's 40-year-old breast.
What happened next is what happens - and what will happen - to every child of the digital revolution who has ever filled out a user profile, I.M.'d her friends with idle gossip or programmed her browser to accept cookies: An army of reporters and gossip columnist went to their keyboards, called up their favorite search engines and began to construct a digital doppelganger of Alexandra Polier from her Friendster profile, her Associated Press and Columbia News Service bylines, and every little crumb and clue she had left behind in the bottomless storage vaults of the Internet. What cracks were left were filled in by the thick, spittle-moistened glue of dozens of bloggers who knew someone who knew someone, or didn't know anyone but had a great theory. "

In my article last summer in the Telegram, I hastily dismissed the bloggers' newsmaking capacity. In the wake of the Iraq war, my thinking was that armchair pundits can only comment on the news. But of course, more and more news is unearthed online -- going way back to the Heaven's Gate website. How much hard data on the Smoking Gun is actually stuff from other websites? Not much, but more every year.

Alex Polier has an online presence; this became news that bloggers can break from the comfort of their homes. Right now, there's not much to report -- other than that she presents herself rather unusually. But as today's twenty-somethings go on to make waves, their online proclamations, archived way back when, will come back in play.

Imagine it like this: Some bloggers are making much of Kerry's 1966 interview with the Harvard Crimson, and his post-Vietnam congressional testimony. What if Kerry had a website back then? Would he have rambled on a little longer, said some inappropriate things, linked to some dubious sites? Would he be friendsters with Jane Fonda?

I better shut up, lest all the publicity generated by this site suddenly backfire and destroy my career(s).