Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How has blogging changed the way that people share and report news and information?

Everyone with a computer and access to the Internet can be a blogger. Everyone can have a voice and that voice can be heard around the world – if others read your blog.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of blogging is that there are no gatekeepers. Because blogging is accessible to all, that means there is great diversity in content and point of view. Unlike more traditional forms of communication, newspapers, magazines, books, etc., that severely limit who is doing the writing, blogging can be done by anyone with a desire to communicate. Blogs can be used to report/discuss world events or simply to announce the birth of the newest member of the family. Blogs can be formal in style and tone or offbeat and full of whimsy. Blogs can be used to expound a political agenda or serve simply as a creative outlet. Blogging is the democratization of communication.

While traditional media are one-way forms of communication, blogging, with the use of comments, has the potential to be a conversation, or even a collaboration. Comments can enhance an initial post, offer new information or a new point of view. The blogger can respond and further the discussion, revise, update and add to his post. And the discussion can go on indefinitely. There are no length limits on blogs, time or word count.

Traditional media no longer has exclusive access to news. Events are reported on blogs almost as soon as they happen. Readers have access to many different sources and viewpoints about any given event. Blogs report the shelling of civilians in Syria while it is happening. New applications that marry Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook with blogs allow posts on any of those channels of communication to be simultaneously posted on the others.

The same multiplicity of sources and viewpoints are available on any hot news topic. Like Obama’s healthcare plan? There is a blog for that. Don’t like his healthcare plan? There is a blog for that too. And a blog for the legal aspects of the plan and one for the cost, and one for how it will influence alternative healthcare, etc., etc.

And then there are the blogs that are a simple sharing of events and information, like the building of a cabin, or how a family member is doing with chemo. These blogs have a much smaller intended audience, although the audience may be far flung, and may serve as a way for families or small groups of people to stay in touch. Blogs are a way to create and maintain community.