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One Nation Under Blog: Forget the Facts. Believe What I Say! Paperback – October 31, 2008
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
David Wallace tackles blogging, the dark side of the Internet, head-on and speaks so eloquently from painful personal experience about the need to inject a sense of fairness and balance into the blogging process--and to do so without trampling on our first amendment rights. No subject could be more timely or appropriate this election year. --Ed Wax, Chairman Emeritus, Saatchi & Saatchi
One Nation Under Blog raises important questions and represents a contribution to a long-overdue public conversation about blogs and their effects. --Dan Rather, Global Correspondent, Dan Rather
We live in a technical world that is beginning to affect our fundamental principles of freedom, democracy, and rules of law. The birth of blogging has created yet another powerful tool for freedom of speech, and Wallace queries how it will define us as Americans and offers a model for our children and grandchildren to follow. --Robert Scoble, Best known for his popular blog Scobleizer; coauthor, Naked Conversations: How Blogs Are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers
About the Author
David Wallace served three terms as the Mayor of Sugar Land, Texas, completing his tenure in May 2008. Wallace was also appointed by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff to the U. S. Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council. Additionally, he serves as Co-Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors - Homeland Security Task Force. He was also recently appointed to the National Advisory Board for Missing and Exploited Children. Appointed by Texas Governor Rick Perry, Wallace serves on the Board of Directors and as Vice President of the Texas Economic Development Corporation. Wallace is the Chief Executive Officer for Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, LP. Wallace's involvement in Sugar Land's nationally recognized Internet Safety program led him to focus on freedom of speech and how it affects our personal safety and decency. Wallace's concern for this issue and the unintended consequences of blogging provided the impetus for writing One Nation Under Blog. Wallace has lived in Sugar Land, Texas, since 1993 with his wife, Kathy and two daughters.
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It is also true that blogging is, for many individuals, the only way they can afford - or is at least the most effective means available -- to express legitimate grievances concerning a defective product, for example, or excessive credit card charges by a third-party international telephone service provider. Of course, Wallace also understands this. Moreover, he knows that corporate blog sites can (and many do) offer a cost-effective and beneficial mechanism by which to obtain or disseminate an abundance of information (especially feedback) from various constituencies. Some executives tell me that their company's blog site provides an organizational equivalent of 360º feedback, generating information that could not otherwise be obtained so easily and inexpensively. Oh sure, there are abuses but remarkably few in number and easily ignored.
In Wallace's volume, he shares his own experiences and what he makes of them. He also leaves no doubt as to how important he thinks the First Amendment is and why it must continue to be defended. However, he agrees with Justice Oliver Wendell Homes, "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic." The same can be said of bloggers who post comments online that are clearly in violation of various laws such as those protecting against libel, slander, defamation of character, fraud, extortion, etc. It is also unclear whether or not bloggers' violations of property laws (e.g. copyrights) can be brought to justice. Cordelia Kevlar is the best-qualified candidate for governor? "Forget the facts...believe what I say!" Subprime mortgages are risky? "Forget the facts...believe what I say!" Global warning threatens our planet? "Forget the facts...believe what I say!" In the United States, at least, there are laws and regulations covering almost all human activities and in their absence, guidelines have been agreed upon.
If I understand Wallace correctly, he does not recommend adding to the number of laws and regulations; rather, he suggests that bloggers voluntarily follow a code of conduct, that they be self-regulated and mutually respectful. There are several excellent books already in print that discuss various aspects of blogging, notably those written by Robert Bly, John Cass, Ted Demopoulos, David Meerman Scott, and Debbie Weil. To the best of my knowledge, Wallace is the first to address a number of important issues concerning public policy, regulatory agencies, constitutional rights, and personal accountability. That is why I think so highly of this book.
Unless and until these issues are resolved, however, and then appropriate actions taken, perpetrators of online abuse will continue to have almost unlimited opportunities to attack almost anyone, anywhere, at any time...and do so with impunity. A situation such as this is not what our ancestors had in mind when they ratified the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights (including the First Amendment) more than three centuries ago.