Do blogs really have an impact?

We've got another chance for the mainsream press to either laud or dismiss blogs, and I'm curious to see how it turns out. The thing to note is that, for these purposes, the blogosphere basically includes not only all blogs, but all the other hangouts for web geeks, like Fark or YTMND or Something Awful. We've had lighweight phenomena have moderate success through this medium in the past (Mahir, JibJab, Howard Dean) but we haven't seen any incontrovertible hits yet.

But now we've got some signs that blogs might be able to really impact mainstream, non-geek people and media. First, there was the Lamont victory, but of course it's impossible to know how much of that victory was about online efforts and how much was about policy.

So what, then, can act as a measure of the influence of web culture? Why, Snakes on a Plane of course! For as ubiquitous and unavoidable as the film's been online (almost immediately moving from in-joke to overplayed), it's been noticeably quiet in mainstream media until its debut this week. But Kurt Loder (he's in his 60s!) breaks it down on MTV's site:

There's no way to separate the experience of actually seeing "Snakes on a Plane" from the year-long carnival of Internet anticipation that preceded it: the fake trailers, the viral videos, the posters, the songs, the T-shirts. God, it's been fun.

Here, then, is our referendum on our real influence. Snakes doesn't have to be the number one movie this weekend to show that blogs have influence over people who aren't web geeks. But a decent showing would illustrate that we are maybe, finally, reaching outside of the echo chamber. I couldn't think of a more noble subject for the experiment.

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