Blogs: Point and Future

November was a busy month for me. I gave several presentations to a diverse mix of people about what a blog is, what it can be used for (obviously dependent on the audience), and where blogging is going. In a particularly lovely bit of convergence, this has also been a popular meme of discussion in several of my favorite blogs as well as a topic of discussion between some of my favorite people. Conclusions? Well, there are no hard and fast conclusions…this is a fluid and varied medium, after all…but I do have some ideas.

1. Blogs are more than the format we use to define them. One of our major problems in researching the fundamentals of blogging is that there are so many genres and we keep lumping them all together.

2. Blogging is a process NOT a product. It is extremely rare that blogs ever become a product (examples are books such as those by Salam Pax or Belle de Jour).

3. In academic blogging, we tend to blog our process – creating a wonderful opportunity to peer review the process rather than the final paper. Rarely are updates to this peer review blogged (not sure why, possibly the constant cycle of new topics/ideas). The ‘updated/modified’ version is often the published article. (similar to point 2)

4. while bloggers can become experts in their chosen topic, the reality is that their audience is often too small to generate any impact from their expertise (both the rule and the exception tend to be political bloggers…arguably experts in often narrow fields, they tend to preach to the choir – attract like-minded audiences- yet occasionally cause large repercussions through their diligence ex. Rathergate)

additional old vs. new media reasons by prolurkr

* The majority of their audience is still on the other side of the digital divide (those who can’t, don’t or won’t use computers and the Internet for information and communication).
* People don’t have the time or inclination to search and browse the blogosphere (or time to read more than capsules and sound bites on any subject).
* Most people are disinterested in news and information that is not (a) actionable, (b) easy to understand, and (c) suitable fodder for social conversation.

Right now, blogs are a buzz word…big media has jumped on the bandwagon and poorly attempted one-way media they dub a blog (personally feel that these one-way channels of communication fashionably called a blog have missed the point – except for the BBC…they GET blogging). So the big question echoing around the blogosphere…what is the future. Personally, I feel the future of the blog is here in terms of audience and reachability/impact. Although, as bandwidth gets cheaper, I believe that blogs will become increasingly more mobile and interactive – taking guerrilla news and virtual re-experience to a new and exciting level.

Contribute to the discussion, if you will. As a strong advocate for blogging, I believe that they are beneficial for a variety of reasons such as improving critical reading and writing skills, building networks, creating and identity online and over time. I am aware, however, that blogs are not the be all and end all of web tools. What is the point for you? Why do you blog and how do you see it changing in the future?

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