In the past ten years, the spread of the Internet and other advanced technologies has had a dramatic effect on the way people access and perceive information. One of the most revolutionary technological novelties that characterizes the modern "digital revolution" has been the explosion of weblogs. Blogs have impacted numerous facets of international politics including elections, media reporting from zones of conflict, and corporate and congressional policies.
They also have potentially significant implications for policy making of the future and for national and global security. This has led to the claim that blogs deserve the title of the "fifth estate," following an analogy with the other four estates that influence modern policy shaping: executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the state and the media.
This book methodically analyses the various facets of the modern blogosphere that led the author to support this claim and offers a number of recommendations to further the empowerment of blogs in the global policy arena.
Dr Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan is Senior Scholar in Geostrategy and Director of the Program on the Geopolitical Implications of Globalization and Transnational Security at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.
1. Four Estates of the Realm: Could Weblogs Become the Fifth?
2. The Emergence of Blogs - Historical Note
3. Blogs and Policy Shaping
4. Security Implications of Blogs
5. Blogs and the "Fourth Estate" - The Media: Competitors or Potentially Successful Collaborators?
6. Obstacles Preventing Blogs from Effective Policy Shaping
7. Case Studies
8. Future Trajectories
9. Policy Recommendations
1. "In a nano-second of history, blogs have become the reality check for policy makers, opinion shapers, and interest groups. This outstanding and very timely study captures the full problematique of the blogosphere and explores its - potentially disturbing - future impact on society and security of a digitalized world."
Dr Fred Tanner, Director, Geneva Centre for Security Policy
2. "The author has done a superb job and this study offers a thorough examination of blogs and their implications for transnational security. Lucid and assiduously researched, this report must be read by anyone with an interest in the new media and their social and political impact."
Dr Jean K. Chalaby, Reader, Department of Sociology, City University London, United Kingdom