Saturday, October 13, 2007

Blogging, Society And What It Means To Me.

Being relatively new to blogging, it's popularity across the world have both surprised and intrigued me. What started out many years ago as online diaries have now morphed into blogs of all types and forms, ranging from hobbies, technology, news to socio-political blogs. Enterprising individuals have also used blogs as a means of developing alternative sources of income and many companies have employed blogs to market their products and services and relate to their customers.

Serving as a platform for people to voice their opinions, the phenomenon of blogging has seen stratospheric growth since it's advent. Four years ago, Technorati tracked about 8 million online diaries but today, it is tracking over 90 million blogs and estimates show that the total number of blogs doubles every six months! Just what is it about blogging that makes it so popular?

At it's most basic level, blogging is a technology that is drastically lowering the cost of publishing and makes available, the opportunity for every one's opinions, views and interests to be heard and shared. Largely driven by interest and passion and not commercial activity, it's personal nature coupled with the ease which one can publish their thoughts, has resulted in increased interconnectedness with the world. As an outlet for expression and the ability to shared, connect and gain knowledge with a worldwide audience, blogging is priceless and fulfills an important part of our human need for communication and the longing to belong.

Blogging also has a tremendous impact on traditional media and how journalism functions in our society. It has been viewed as a threat to mainstream media as it primarily takes away central control of content and distribution. It's relevance, speed and nimble nature was aptly demonstrated in the recent uprising in Burma where bloggers, and not the mainstream media, were the first to disseminate information to the world about their plight.

With readers across the world increasingly doubting the authority of their countries' mainstream media, blogging with it's personal touch and imbued with the character of it's author, just seems more in tune with readers' sensibilities than the opinionated newspapers with their agendas and affiliations. Readers are aware that behind major newspapers are writers and editors who are not necessarily more trustworthy than a lone blogger who has earned readers' respect.

The biggest impact blogging has on society was to take over the means of production and distribution of content. Readers would not be able to read this and countless other articles if not for blogging. Prior to the advent of blogging, writers had only one route to readers - they needed an editor and a publisher. Blogging bypasses this ritual and the inherent distortions that this route created - with editors looking for a certain angle to the stories and publisher pushing their agendas, and results in content that is largely unbiased and relevant.

Furthermore, the exposure of well-regarded blogs can rivaled the audiences of traditional news and opinion magazines. Coupled with the availability of print-on-demand technology, there is also no longer any need for established writers to go to newspapers and magazines to get their articles published as they can easily convert them into a pdf file and even charge for it's download.

The advent of blogging reminded me of the immense societal changes that took place more than 500 hundred years ago with the development of the Gutenberg press and the publication of broadsheets. The launched of the printing press transformed the way communication and information flowed in society at that time.

After nine months of this wonderful blogging journey, I can no longer envision a world without blogging as it's interactive element has enriched me tremendously and allowed me to gain valuable insights into the many issues in our society and the varied cultures, lives and people of our world.

*Related posts :
- Internet and it's impact on reading and thinking.
- Blog Action Day
- Bloggers Unit In Acts of Kindness


footiam said...

Oh! very informative blog you have here. Interesting! And I love Ultraman too , still do!

My Den said...

Hi footiam,
Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. Take care.

Vivienne said...

Great research. I especially agree with blogging being a threat to mainstream media. How true, and how exciting. Can you imagine what it must be like to have taken content control for granted all these years and then suddenly, boom! I actually have the 'everything blogging book' you show here (and a few others!). I, too, cannot imagine not blogging. Vienne

My Den said...

Hi Vivienne,
That is probably why there are occasional articles in mainstream media questioning the accuracy and relevance of bloggers. For me, the ability to self-published is a fantastic feeling.

Thanks for dropping by. Take care.