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Bright lights in the blogosphere 

Five local bloggers who matter

Have you ever speculated with friends about the superpowers you wish you could have?

If I recall correctly, flying, impossible strength and X-ray vision appeared on a lot of people's wish lists when I was kid.

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine confessed that his fantasy superpower-of-choice was the ability to anonymously induce spontaneous orgasms in all others, men and women, using only his thoughts. I suppose it's not the strangest or worst ambition someone could have, but his breathless enthusiasm, and the way he would always lean close and stare when he said stuff like that really freaked me out.

Another superpower I recall being quite popular was mind-reading.

Wouldn't life be so much easier and so much more interesting if you had access to everyone's deepest, most personal thoughts? Imagine how much easier dating, business negotiations and Pictionary would be?

Not much, actually, if the Atlanta blogosphere is any indication.

Thanks to the ever-growing number of blogs in and around the city, the deepest, most personal thoughts of hundreds of people are now easily discoverable. They can be delivered to your computer desktop in the font of your choosing.

Instead of displacing the traditional news media, challenging the mainstream news and entertainment media's backside – or foisting great-but-previously-undiscovered talents on the city – blogging in Atlanta is, by and large, a medium for self-expression.

At its best, self-expressive blogging connects friends and family members who are either too busy, or too distant, to see each other as often as they'd like. Personal blogging brings strangers together in unexpected ways.

Last year, when I posted on my personal blog about a fire that gutted my neighbor's house, I received donations of clothes for their children and gift cards worth several hundred dollars, from several people I'd met once at a bloggers' happy hour, and from one person I'd never met or spoken to.

At its worst, self-expressive blogging is a digital speculum that allows neurotic, self-obsessed people to cram their heads even farther up their own asses. I must have been born just after the Reveal Everything Online gene started appearing in every newborn American baby, because for the life of me, I cannot comprehend what drives so many local bloggers to "share" intimate and mundane information about their dysfunctional family relationships, their dysfunctional romantic relationships, the meals they've just eaten, and in one instance, a lost-but-not-forgotten foreskin. At times, it can feel like the only traditional news-media platform the Atlanta blogosphere is ready to replace is "The Maury Povich Show."

Though the Atlanta blogosphere is dim, there are enough bright lights out there for you to waste a good portion of any workday.

The following list of local bloggers isn't a definitive list of the best or a comprehensive review. It's a short list. We know there's more gender and ethnic diversity in the Atlanta blogosphere, but we picked bloggers who attempt to reach beyond their circles of acquaintances, by either doing something completely unique (I Saw It on Ponce, Peach Pundit), or doing something better than just about anyone else (Cable & Tweed, Peachtree Screed, Inside the Oversexed Mind of Gloria Brame).

All five of the people we profile devoted their lives to communicating with words before they had a blog. One is an author and poet, one a journalist, another a former attorney, one a marketing consultant, and one a Ph.D. working on a dissertation about 19th-century American judges.

If you think we missed some important local bloggers, we want you to comment on our blog, CLFreshLoaf.com, or maybe write something really bitchy on your own blog. With all the bitchy stuff we write about other people on our blogs, it would only be fair.

Erick Erickson

Peach Pundit

www.peachpundit.com

Why we love it: If Doug Monroe's Peachtree Screed is Atlanta's liberal Drudge Report, then Peach Pundit is Georgia's conservative ESPN. Every day its (growing) crew of 17 bloggers dishes up the inside-baseball-style dirt of the state's politics, from state congressional races to small-town political scoop. Peach Pundit is what the state's political power brokers read to find out what the state's other political power brokers are up to.

Blogger profile: Why did you quit being a lawyer to become a blogger?

"That's the question I get asked the most," says Peach Pundit's principal poobah, Erick Erickson. In 2005, he quit his job at Macon's prestigious Sell & Melton law firm and became a full-time blogger.

"It scared my wife," Erickson says. "She was a month away from giving birth when I told her I was gonna do it. Fortunately, it didn't induce labor."

He says he actually makes more money as a blogger than he did as a lawyer. "Lawyers in Macon don't make a heck of a lot," he explains.

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