Blogging is still too new for all of its long-term effects to be
charted, but I am seeing trends that could be quite disruptive if they
are happening on a global scale. 🙂
I have been blogging since October 2003 and have seen a steady
progression of changes in my writing, my work habits, and even in my
attitudes as a result of what I write.
The information provided in blogs may change the lives of those that
read it, but the continuous process of gathering information, analyzing
it and then packaging it for easy consumption effects a transformation
in the lives of those who blog.
I see a steady evolution in myself toward event or news-blogging. I
see something worthwhile, or amusing, or memorable and I want to write
about it. I may write about items I see in other weblogs, but more and
more I want to capture the shining moments of life as they happen.
It is a subtle transformation, and it still amuses me when I whip
out a notebook and approach some stranger and ask if they would mind
being interviewed for an online article. I start out by giving them my
current writer/publisher/blogger business card and I usually end up
taking pictures. Since I am only doing this because I am truly
interested in them, the interview is effortless and we both have a good
As a result, I am generating post material almost faster than I can
publish it. I have a small stack of interviews to post in the coming
weeks. Since the interviews are not time-dependent, I can position them
for maximum effect and do the necessary background research to round
out the story.
I am also conscious of the need to become better at interviewing
people. I have no trouble with putting them at ease, but I need to
learn what questions to ask in order to bring out their side of the
story. I am sure there is material written about this, but I wince at
the banality of the questions asked by typical journalists, so I need
to do some research.
In short, I am becoming an active chronicler of life as well as a observer/participant.
What happens when thirty percent of the population start doing the
same? As cellphone cameras and WiFi networks become ubiquitous, we may
see a tapestry of 24 x 7 documentation as never before.
The more likely scenario is that more and more people will regard
this as an art form to explore, the capturing of memorable events and
artifacts for posterity.
We already know, even if mainstream media doesn’t, that unleashing
public opinion through millions of online outlets has a cumulative
effect on the perception of events. Events that were once happily
choreographed by mainstream media are now fact-checked daily by
millions of interested people who have more expertise than the talking
heads on TV or the columnists of the dead-tree media. This will
probably lead to a new breed of media where blogger comments appear on
editorial pages and on TV news panels as counterpoint to the
"manufactured news" of the day.
This is all well and good, but it is only the tip of the iceberg in my
opinion. I think the historically significant effect of blogging will
be on the individuals who blog.