Why We Blog…

There are millions of bloggers with countless more itching to get online and publish their innermost thoughts. There may be an infinite number of reasons for creating and maintaining a weblog, but they all reduce to a desire to be heard.

Those of you in the free world, who are lurking quietly on the edges of this great ferment waiting for things to settle down, are lucky. You have a choice to expose yourself to millions of peering eyes on the blogosphere or you can lurk undetected.

You are greatly outnumbered by the billions in China who are currently unable to get online because their government is engagaged in a last-ditch fight to control access to the blogosphere and control the content that is published on the internet. I think that effort is doomed.

The blogosphere is like Pandora’s Box, once the gateway to citizen publishing was opened, it cannot be closed by anything short of a rollback to fuedal times. Oh, I forgot. There are still some places where they will have to come forward to reach feudal times…

The ultimate answer is that we blog because we can. The urge to communicate is so strong that people have given their lives in attempts to ensure that freedom for others.

Some blog to inspire, others blog to incite anger. Some bloggers entertain and others berate. I could list the motivations further, but you need to be aware that there is NO reason for a definitive list! That thinking is SO pre-blogosphere!

You must feel free to create your own model and it must suit your motivation, otherwise blogging is like work, and we know where THAT leads! 🙂

The blogging models continue to proliferate as blogs assume more and more of the functions that used to lie in the domain of traditional news media. Blogs provide intensive coverage of subjects that end up as 30-second blips on TV or a brief mention in a back page of a newspaper.

Who has not experienced the disappointment of seeing several hours of carefully filmed interviews mysteriously morph into a embarrasing spectacle created of out-of context clips and unguarded statements narrated with sarcastic voice-overs?

I have seen early 20-20 and 60 Minute Specials where the voices of those being interviewed were skillfully overdubbed with background noise so you could not make out what they were saying. The interviewer’s voice would be crystal clear and the hapless subject’s voice level would be lowered and over-dubbed. There is almost no chance of that occurring now without exposure. Too many blogs are fact-checking every comment made by mainstream media.

I believe the future of news blogging will include narrow-casting, a nearly-infinite number of channels that will provide feeds on demand about a narrow range of subjects. This will probably be driven by something akin to the Tags used on Technorati, rather than by an analysis of content.

I envision this working in the following manner:

You will scan for subjects of general interest on blogs like Instapundit, Michelle Malkin, etc. and when you find topics that are interesting enough to investigate further, you will set your aggregator system to continually scan for new posts on your subject of interest.

This will act like an online "clipping service". Every new post about Iraq, for example, might be identified so you could tag those which come from reliable sources and have them routed to your attention automatically. You might need a screening system to ward off "news spam", but the end result would be to give you real-time news feeds on your favorite topics.

I see an interesting variation on this from Michael Yon, the freelance journalist who travels about Iraq and writes about the struggles everyday people are going through trying to bring order into a country undergoing massive cultural and political changes.

Michael’s stories capture the human element of every situation, whether it is the gritty minute-by-minute saga of a combat team in action or the caring account of eating roast duck with tribesmen in a remote desert village.

He has augmented the RSS feed with a personal newsletter which you must sign up for. I find this very helpful, as Michael is not able to post daily updates because of his remote location. When he writes something new, I get an email telling me what to expect if I log on his site.

I consider his site as one of my main sources of information on what is happening inside Iraq. He is only one source of information, but I trust what he reports and that makes all the difference. A dozen such reports, and I feel that I understand the current situation in that country.

When we have that kind of coverage world-wide, our perception of the world will be changed for the better.

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0 Responses to Why We Blog…

  1. Jay says:

    I always enjoy your thoughts on how citizen publishing will take over the world. It’s a great example of the triumph of the human spirit, and a very positive development in our modern world.

    I think that blogging reaches beyond the desire to communicate. I think that online communities may fill a need in our modern society. We are so far removed in modern life from the communities that used to nurture us – I think that is why we are seeking them out online.

    I forsee many more positive changes in the future. It is a very exciting time.

  2. Skob says:

    I enjoyed your comments on blogging and about parts of the world where freedom of speech is stifled.
    You may already know of this site on the subject. I came across it last night. (http://committeetoprotectbloggers.blogspot.com)
    very interesting and informative. But,then you may not as there is mega amout info out there on the old web. Have a great day -Skob

  3. Dee says:

    I don’t know where else on this blog I can address this concern, so here goes.

    I’ve read this article called “Can you be fired for blogging” from the MSN Careers article section. Basically the article describes how talking badly about your current employer can spell disaster for your career. The employers fear employess divulging secrets and the ilk.

    What concerns me is that bloggers and those of us who post on blogs will have to further censor ourselves and not warn people of bad companies out there. I have been thinking of starting a blog but now I feel too scared to do so.

    When corporations have this much power over your life where you’re afraid to voice concerns, I don’t think society as a whole is moving forward. Rather I feel like we’re back to the Dark Ages. Does your book address concerns on how corporations take over your life and individuality?

  4. If you know of bad conditions in a company and don’t warn others, you are covering up wrongdoing, and therefore you are tacitly supporting it.

    That, in itself, will bring about your own personal destruction. Your failure to help others will come back to haunt you.

    If you cannot correct conditions by speaking up openly, then you need to speak anonymously. As an anonymous blogger or commenter, you have less credibility than if you use your real name, but you can still be effective by telling only the truth in the most factual manner possible.

    Readers tend to discount reports that contain lots of emotion. Whining, hate, pleas for sympathy, all of these turn off readers.

    Provide the facts in as much detail as you can manage. Readers will do the rest.

    If you let a corporation take over your life, you lose your integrity. My first book describes this. My second book will go into more detail.

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