Blogging documentary: Chuck Olsen’s ‘Blogumentary’

by | Feb 11, 2007

Jennifer, whom I don’t personally know but who sends me links fairly regularly, emailed me last Tuesday about an item at Google Video. Expecting to find a short clip only a minute or two in length, I was surprised to see instead that blogger Chuck Olsen has posted his entire one hour and five minute movie about bloggers — Blogumentary — there.

Previously, I wrote here about the sorry state of bandwidth and download speeds in the United States as a whole, and at my home in particular. Part of my frustration was created by my wireless router, a Linksys museum piece running under the quaint 802.11b standard. Since that router was made, 802.11g has lived out its full lifespan, and 802.11n has been born, if not baptized. My thin and halting bandwidth made it frustrating to watch even short videos via Wi-Fi. Watching a one-hour movie online was out of the question. Yesterday, however, a new D-Link Xtreme N wireless router arrived on the scene, and suddenly there is no waiting for YouTube and Google Video. Cursing has diminished.

This morning, Amy and I watched Blogumentary online in its entirety, and found it to be an informative and absorbing movie about people doing what I’m doing right now — posting personal thoughts and observations online where the whole world (or nobody) may read them.

Chuck Olsen has done a really tidy job of summarizing the whole blogging phenomenon, looking at how it has affected politics, journalism, and individual lives. Olsen’s film is as well-produced as Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me (2003), and while his rather plain delivery may not be as engaging as that of, say, David Attenborough, it also avoids the annoying self-righteousness of some of Michael Moore‘s work. Olsen is a clear and straightforward documentarian.

Blogumentary introduces us to semi-famous bloggers like Crystal Eitle (Space Waitress), Rebecca Blood (Rebecca’s Pocket), Jeff Jarvis (BuzzMachine), John Hinderaker (Power Line), Stuart Hughes (Beyond Northern Iraq), Meg Hourihan (Megnut), Jason Kottke (, Derek Powezek and Heather Powazek Champ and even Olsen’s own mother. Their stories and their blogging range across a wide spectrum of human experience, from the intensely personal to the world stage. Olsen quilts these pieces together with a little history, some archival footage, and entertaining graphics to produce a casual but comprehensive overview of the conversational revolution that is reshaping our world. It’s worthwhile viewing.

(By the way, Google Video also offers a “Download” button which puts a slick player and the video on your computer for handy viewing at your convenience, allowing someone with less bandwidth to enjoy uninterrupted viewing once the download is finished.)

Little by little, we’re watching more Internet video in this house — stuff like Amanda Congdon’s ABC News Videoblog and her wacky Starring Amanda Congdon flights of fancy, Circuits with David Pogue, Randy Newman’s recent grim editorial, and so on.

We even spent ten minutes last night laughing once again at The Joli 15, a Joliet, Illinois go-kart race from 1983 that aired on Steve Dahl‘s TV show, It’s Too Early. Even 24 years later, TV does not get much better than Steve exclaiming, “I’m back in the race!”

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