The Future of Blogging – my version…

We can learn what we want to learn

The action of writing a weblog can provide an entirely new vision of self-paced distance learning. Since it is self-paced and self-actuated, the results will vary from blogger to blogger.

As a blogger, I am constantly getting these “aha!” moments where I discover a pattern that will have profound effects on future events.

The constant research that goes into blogging provides a dizzying array of resources to draw upon. This means that I can sit here in the early hours of the morning, analyzing hundreds of articles until I find a thread that leads in a direction I wish to explore. Once the thread is found, it is often only moments before I am able to reach a conclusion about something I have never investigated before.

I can then Google the net to see if anyone else has come to this conclusion. Sometimes they have, sometimes not. At first, I was disappointed to find that someone like Joi Ito, Clay Shirky or Rebecca Blood had voiced the same thought years before. It was like coming up with a philosophical approach to science and finding that Richard Feynman had lectured about it forty years ago.

Then I realized that it didn’t matter if they had done it first, what is important is that I reached the same conclusions independently!

It is completely satisfying to be able to test my conclusions against the experience of others and find out that I was on the right track, or at least had company in my opinions. I learn something of value almost every day. This is a priceless opportunity to further my education.

The future of news

As I browse through weblog after weblog, I envisioned the time in 2005 when we will routinely get our news from RSS feeds from weblogs instead of broadcast media. It’s already beginning for me, as I routinely check Iraq weblogs instead of TV or newspaper for news of that area.

On any sensitive news, like Mad Cow disease, major media is too beholden to advertisers to provide any depth of coverage. You have to read the weblog of Dave Louthan, the man who actually killed the mad cow, to get a different side of the story. His frustration at the handling of this case is not surprising. Being a whistleblower is not a happy occupation.

Individual weblogs may not threaten traditional journalists, because bloggers are not always articulate nor can they always communicate effectively. But, bloggers as a group can swamp traditional news sources entirely if current trends continue. When there are bloggers with cellphone cameras routinely reporting news as it happens, there may be an interesting evolution. It is still in the early stages, and it is called moblogging.

Once there are hundreds of thousands of bloggers putting down real-time observations about life on this planet, we have a different kind of history being written. I feel it will be much harder to bury news and rewrite history, as blog records are almost permanent and can be instantly recalled for many years.

Get the idea of a vehicle hit-and-run incident posted on a blog, or a corrupt sheriff exposed on a blog, or an international cover-up unmasked on a series of blogs. The possibilities boggle the mind. Good deeds can also be acknowledged in a blog where they would not find room in most urban dailies.

Major media is so concentrated that a few powerful interests can throttle almost any embarrassing news item or conversely can alter the reporting of of matters to suit political ends. I think we have seen this with Iraq, the US presidential campaign, and the Mad Cow incident(s).

Bloggers report what they feel is interesting and they may put their own personal spin on events, as regular reporters do, but with many blogs reporting in parallel it is easy to compare accounts and come up with reasonable conclusions.

The general future of weblogs

If you want to get a glimpse of the future of weblogs, Joi Ito is one of the people to watch. He uses the web and draws power from it, as opposed to those who mainly write about weblogs, what they should be and how they should be run, etc.

Joi is an enormously successful entrepreneur, political rabble-rouser, investor, and blogger. He created one of Japan’s first personal Web sites, was the chairman of Infoseek Japan, and runs a $40 million venture fund. He typifies what can be achieved by a brilliant and unfettered mind coupled to the resources of the internet.

Read this Christopher Lydon Interview, Visitor from the Next Planet: Joi Ito. Seth Godin’s article, The Blog of Things to Come, in Fast Company gives you more of the same, although Seth lessens his credibility as a journalist with his unnecessary comments about “ordinary” bloggers.

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0 Responses to The Future of Blogging – my version…

  1. fletch says:

    Fascinating reading David. I do wonder though, that as the blog becomes a more powerful voice in communication, if it will suffer from the same problems that traditional media has. The independent blogger, when threatened with a lawsuit, loss of employment, or even in extreme cases physical harm, will suddenly realize that independence and freedom of expression is a myth. The government’s threat of taxing the internet also could put a damper on the power of the blog. In my own little blog world, I hesitate to publish criticism of the National Park Service because at some point I might seek them as an employer. The blog medium is still in its infancy. As it grows in influence, expect the powers that be, especially traditional media, to seek regulation, probably through taxes.

  2. Denny says:

    Friendship is a type of relationship in which intimacy slowly builds because of sharing something of value, give and take, resulting in the accrual of trust, respect and affection. I’ve found this happens in blogging. As we search and seek in the everchanging blog network, we select contacts that often evolve into a special kind of friendship, legitimate and unique to the blogging medium. I find it very satisfying, this 21st century development in our culture.

  3. Carrie says:

    Very interesting post 🙂

  4. Chef Quix says:

    One of the problems that I’m finding with blogging is that far from the peaceful civil arena in which to discuss differences, it’s turning into a flame war where neither side is capable of admitting any validity to their opponents points. In many cases I see it is polarizing people, reinforcing their fundamental beliefs and allowing them to find other people who see it the same way, even if it’s a warped and twisted view of the world. I guess it comes down to impartiality and being able to look beyond ones narrow view, but it seems that few people are ready or even able to accept new ideas that threaten their perception of the world.

    I fear that in many ways blogging and communicating on the internet will in fact flame the discontent between opposing ideologies to the point where violence or other harmful actions are the norm. People just seem unwilling to change.

  5. David says:

    Chef Quix, you are on the mark when you say, “it comes down to impartiality and being able to look beyond ones narrow view”.

    Any communication over a long distance has to be done without rancour or animosity if it is to be received and understood.

    Flames are self-defeating, because they make the recipient wrong at the outset. There has to be a common point of agreement for an effective communication to occur.

    Communication has to occur before there can be accord. Whatever you do, don’t stop your efforts to comunicate. The power of blogging is that there are many points of communication from all sides of every question.

    Look at Irag. Before there were weblogs, all we knew was what we could read in major media. Once weblogs appeared, we could get twenty different points of view on the major events of the day.

    It has been an eye-opener for me, and a great relief to find out how Iraqis feel about their country’s future.

  6. ChefQuix says:

    But are we ever truely getting the unbiased perspective? Is there an unbiased perspective? It all goes back to relative versus absolute truth.
    TITLE: Blogging Down The Good Ole’ Boys Club
    BLOG NAME: Rosenblog
    DATE: 02/16/2004 02:08:30 PM
    As blogging becomes more widespread, insurgents will shape local politics and media in new ways, writes David St. Lawrence in his blog, “Ripples.”…

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