The Fifth Estate: Blog Mobs

TV consultant Shelly Palmer coins a way of looking at the term Fifth Estate today on MediaPost, calling “blog mobs” “The Fifth Estate.” The argument goes something like this: If journalism and the press are the Fourth Estate (after the three traditional arms), then the new technologies creates a new mass entity allowing people to aggregate, to “mob” and assemble as never before, assert their mass control over information that no longer emanates from a central point:

“This is the first time in history that an idea (good or bad, true or false) can travel worldwide instantaneously and live on with a permanent, un-erasable, record of itself. Burn all the books you like, the knowledge lives on in the ether.”

Shelly, whose book Television Disrupted we excerpted on mediabistro, finishes with a very provocative question that makes us go “whoa” — and we aren’t even hepped up on caffeine or something stronger:

Perhaps the legacy of RSS (Really Simple Syndication–the specification which enables blogging) will be the empowerment of a true Fifth Estate with a collective mind of its own and the ability to amplify the voice of the people above all others. Which begs the question: “Can any traditionally organized government withstand an ideological force of this magnitude?”