In the developed world, blogs are over-stimulating. I can't sleep at night because of all the other-people's ideas pumping through my veins. In the developing world, and especially in ones that are rights-challenged, blogs can stimulate more than ideas. They can help create the conditions for freedom. We lucky, luxury-besotted developed-world bloggers can help.
One of the great pleasures of being at Harvard's Berkman Center has been getting to know some bloggers who are serious about this, including Rebecca MacKinnon and Ethan Zuckerman. Ethan ("My blog is in Cambridge, but my heart's in Accra") is beginning to work on quantifying the extent to which US bloggers pay attention to events outside their borders (exempting wars we're in). He and Rebecca, with help from others, are working on a "Bridge Blogs" project that aims at making it easier for people to do for their countries what Hossein Derakhshan (Hoder) has done for Iran.
Then, perhaps, the blogosphere can be a sphere and not a shards of a broken globe.
David Weinberger is the author of Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web. He blogs at Joho the Blog and elsewhere.