It goes without saying that our world and its population are becoming increasingly connected with each passing day. In a few years, it will be difficult to remember a time before popular blogs were trafficked at a level similar to that of sites like Google, Amazon, eBay, and so on.
It wasn’t so terribly long ago that I was writing research papers for college classes, the guidelines for which always warned that Wikipedia does NOT count as a legitimate reference source. They also allowed no more than three internet sources. As a recent graduate now working at an agency specializing in social media, I literally spend hours upon hours each week doing research online. I certainly don’t stop myself after visiting only three websites. Experiencing how much the business world is changing leads me to wonder whether that restrictive academic tendency will evolve, too.
I would guess that most people—definitely the majority of my acquaintances—believe that they have an untapped river of creativity coursing through them. Blogs allow the nameless thousands (or millions—BlogPulse indicated last week that there are over 151 million live blogs) to speak their piece. They can sing it, rap it, dance to it, put guitar music to it, catch it on video or make it sepia-toned in PhotoBooth. Or they can do all of those things at once and enhance it with a tongue-in-cheek stream of consciousness.
Less popular blogs have been referred to as public diary spaces, but their writers have created something original and uniquely theirs, and for some that is what matters. Of course we all know there are scores of blogs that are able to hit the ground running due to some combination of special ingredients (humor, rhetoric, blunt honesty, etc.). Consider the way blogs have developed since they first exploded as a favorite online activity and creative release. Blogs have grown to serve more purposes than could have been predicted. Corporations have blogs, sports teams and musicians have blogs, and even Anderson Cooper has a blog. A darn good one at that.
More recently, the weblog movement has put on a new hat – that of sharing with American citizens material that until now was silenced. Julian Assange founded WikiLeaks and populated the site with classified documents he received from a Private First Class in the U.S. Army, thrilling some and scaring others. He supposedly has more that contain “information on everything from BP to Guantanamo Bay” (source: Examiner article). Critics are sure that WikiLeaks pose a threat to national security. Advocates appreciate Assange’s efforts to get more transparency from the government. In an interview on CNN, a New York Times reporter defends his use of WikiLeaks as an editorial source by citing that as a news organization their agenda “is to report what is newsworthy, and to illuminate what the government is doing.”
To date, no one as been successful in convincing me that print media will eventually die. I have always and will always be of the mind that print news will last because the (however small) population that likes to hold a physical newspaper or feel the bulk of the New York Times Sunday edition will keep it alive. But because I don’t live under a rock, and work in an industry where e-mail is to spoken word as paper is to rock, I have to wonder where blogs will be in one, five, and ten years. Blogs as marriage vows? As the homily in a social church service?
What do you think? Don’t be shy—I know you’re opinionated. I read about it in your blog.