I have been considering a lot of things over the last couple of weeks, mostly since the relaunch/rebranding of my site. One of the predominant contemplations has been about the blog and blogging itself. I have spent many nights wondering why I have chosen to start a blog, and what exactly I should write about upon it. Previously, Musings of a Mac Mind, was mostly devoted to talking about things Mac, how the Mac has changed the way I work and even the course of my life.
When I started expanding out and talking about other things, I decided to relaunch as Twenty Two. I have spoken before about my thoughts of a renaissance underway (not just in design) and have mentioned in passing the idea of the Internet, and specifically blogging, as our modern day printing press, not necessarily in a literal sense, but more metaphorically; the printing press helped to propel the Renaissance and lead directly to the Enlightenment, here we are seeing many things happening focused on the Internet, and now more than ever, blogs…
"With blogs one has the opportunity to get to know the author on a personal level, and in this way one is much more engaged in the material and more likely to trust, and engage in discussion…"
I’m not quite certain about the origins of blogging, I have come across blogs that have existed for nearly a decade. My personal experience with blogs only began in the summer of 2003, and my decision to start one of my own happened quite by accident. But the notion of writing about things that are of interest, and having the ability to receive feedback from a potentially enormous audience is what keeps me going along.
This is one thing that I absolutely love about this medium, it is excellent for education. As I learn about some topic I may present my understanding of it here in the form of an article. Within hours someone who knows more about the subject or has further information on some idea can email me and help to reinforce, or discredit my thoughts. That’s why I relaunched this site with comments enabled, because I think that adds an entirely new level to the entire philosophy, now there is the possibility of discussion.
I read a lot of different blogs regularly. Many of them are related to design, still more to technology in general, others about the Mac, and yet more just by everyday people, friends and some still that engage my understanding of politics, especially in this crucial election year.
One thing that I notice when I read through these different blogs, and then leave to peruse a commercial news site, is the drastic change in tone. One of the most amazing things about blogs is there incredibly personal zeal. There is something exceptional about reading someone’s entry examining in depth the current political situation in Britain (as an example) and then in the very next entry read about the author’s latest family outing, and the silly things his 4 year old is prone to say.
There is nothing else like it, honestly. With blogs one has the opportunity to get to know the author on a personal level, and in this way one is much more engaged in the material and more likely to trust, and engage in discussion and commentary with the author, and other readers of the blog.
Which leads to another excellent positive in the blogosphere, self-regulation. As an example, the forged CBS documents were discovered last week by a blogger. A blogger who happened to do his homework, unlike the entire CBS journalistic team. What CBS has experienced is the very nature of blogging in its own special culture and community. Every day bloggers are reading each other’s sites and keeping each other in check. This adds to the personal aura of the sphere and helps build the trust within the community.
The way I see it, as blogging becomes more popular, more and more people (as they already are) will turn away from the mainstream media as their ownly source of news. Instead, the two will learn to complement eachother. The money, afterall, is still with big media. Bloggers don’t have the millions in advertising revenue, and the enormous base of journalists and field reporters. Instead the big media is serving up content for the bloggers to consume and regurgitate with opinions, commentary, and rebuttal and - as in the case with “Rathergate” - a gigantic BS alarm to disprove items that need to be disproved.
Bloggers will ultimately redefine our notions of opinion articles and editorials. Newspapers print these specials usually on a weekly basis, but here on the Internet, bloggers are serving it up daily, sometimes hourly. And these opinions work off of each other too. Bloggers who subscribe to online sources of news (such as NYTimes.com) have access to the printed material the night before it hits the stands. This gives them a heads up to have their own take and opinions published before most of us even consider going out to pick up the paper. Along these lines, we can use each other as a sort of filter to assist in finding those news items that are important, and that we may have otherwise missed out on.
But I think the most important aspect of all, is that this is a medium for anyone to add to. While good content is a plus, what is most important is that bloggers are out there adding to the community. They are enriching the world with their thoughts and ideas. They are improving our culture by submitting relevant and decisive commentary. The fact that the blogosphere is not, and cannot be, tied down to mainstream media sources is a huge plus.
This is the very essence of democracy. This is the direct result of our First Amendment rights. The very nature of the Internet and of blogging is so sincerely important that I am only beginning to understand the consequences of it all. Indeed, I stand by my theory - however trite it may seem to some - that we are in the midst of a modern Renaissance, on several different levels.
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