Communication Studies, Department of
The Logos of the Blogosphere: Flooding the Zone, Invention, and Attention in the Lott Imbroglio
Date of this Version
This essay examines the significance of a particular metaphor, flooding the zone, which gained prominence as an account of bloggers' argumentative prowess in the wake of Senator Trent Lott's toast at Strom Thurmond's centennial birthday party. I situate the growth of the blogosphere in the context of the political economy of the institutional mass media at the time and argue that the blogosphere is an alternative site for the invention of public argument. By providing an account of how the blogosphere serves as a site of invention by flooding the zone with densely interlinked coverage of a controversy, this essay theorizes how the networked public sphere facilitates invention with speed, agonism, and copiousness. The essay then identifies how flooding the zone has been adopted by corporations and the state in order to blunt spontaneous argumentation emerging from the periphery of communication networks.
Communication Technology and New Media Commons, Critical and Cultural Studies Commons, Mass Communication Commons, Speech and Rhetorical Studies Commons
Published in ARGUMENTATION AND ADVOCACY 47 (Winter 2011): 141-162.