Thursday, September 22, 2005

Blogging poised to go mainstream

Despite the already large number of bloggers in the world (60 million by a May 2005 estimate from the Blog Herald, the phenomenon is still largely in the novelty and techy realm but poised to accelerate into mainstream.

Though one of the points of blogging is to defy labeling, there are several general categories into which the blogosphere can be currently divided: personal narratives, alternative journalism, technology blogs, political blogs, business blogs and futurist blogs to name a few.

Blogging is a fascinating and popular modern medium for many reasons, including its ease of use, and that it is fun, free and immediate. Some of the current key themes of blogging are: the democratizing power of blogs, the return of writing, thinking and originality of perspective, community building, the trend towards activity not passivity, and the decline of traditional print media.

1. Blogging is an incredible democratizing tool: each person can air his or her individual viewpoint and personal story, the equivalent of an OpEd column for everyone.

2. Blogging is a venue for human creation and actualization, formulating and communicating original thoughts; who would have thought that thinking and writing would have come back into fashion in SlackerWorld, but indeed having a blog is an imperative for the technosavvy and is increasingly appearing on resumes. In a world of brown, blogging places a wonderful premium on originality and innovation.

3. Blogging is a way to open yourself up to meet and dialogue with an entire worldwide community of others with shared interests. Community, collaboration and interaction are an important benefit of blogging.

4. Blogging is exemplar of the trend towards action and away from reaction. Video game consumption has surpassed movie and television consumption, people are flocking to online worlds (especially with user-created content such as Second Life) and simulation learning is growing. Activity is more stimulating that passivity and anything that triggers activity in a fun way, like blogging, will be dramatically successful.

5. Blogging is such an important new medium that traditional print media is declining. Circulations are down and layoffs are in mid-stream (for example, the NY Times announced the layoffs of 500 on 9/19/05). Traditional media (with the possible exception of Fox News) realizes their role is no longer to tell their constituencies what to think (e.g.; Top Down method), but rather that they need to understand and incorporate the diverse actual viewpoints of their constituencies (e.g.; Bottom Up method). Some argue that traditional print media is becoming irrelevant but it does still have value, its sequestered as one category of information, blogging is another and there are or will be others too. Traditional print media will be evolving to a different role but will still have a use.

If you aren't already, how soon are you going to blog?