Over the next couple of weeks, I've decided to count down the 10 events that I consider to be the most significant in ufology over the past year. Not all of them will be positive developments, to be sure, but they are the ones that I think had the greatest impact on the ufological world during the past twelve months.
Thus, without further ado:
#10 - The rise of the UFO Blog
Like them or loath them, UFO blogs have taken off (no pun intended) over the past year. Much of the credit / blame for this development is due to Rich Reynolds (pictured at left) and the now-defunct RRR Group, who were the first UFO bloggers to really make a name for themselves. They self-destructed about two months ago when, as part of an ongoing war of words, they went after another UFO blogger, Alfred Lehmberg, and in the process crossed a line of common decency that destroyed whatever credibility they had left within the UFO community. But they stirred things up, and brought the idea of blogging to a wider audience; in that respect, their impact lives on (again, whether for good or ill is a matter of opinion).
The blogs themselves are of varying quality, and have been created to serve various purposes. Mine is a mix of research, commentary, and personal asides. Others are more like journals for ETH believers. Even some longtime ufologists have gotten into the act, including Kevin Randle. While a few UFO blogs pre-date 2005, most do not, and the blogs, as a group, certainly had nowhere near the readership, or influence, that they do today. The phenomenon of blogging, which is far from unique to the world of ufology (indeed, it is now an integral part of politics), will no doubt continue to grow in 2006, and the years to follow. A blog is, after all, nothing more than a tool to facilitate communication. However, unlike writing books, or writing for magazines, it is a tool that anyone can use (once again, for good or ill). It is also, unlike a website, immediately accessible (it takes maybe 5 minutes to set one up), to the point where even a technophobe can use one. The result has been a lot of hooey - but also some good stuff. That's what always happens when the barriers to communication are broken down, and everyone has the ability to contribute. The trick is to separate the wheat from the chaff - but that's always been the challenge with ufology!
Whatever your opinion of UFO blogs might be, they are here to stay - and have changed the ufological landscape for good.