Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blogging as a Medium

Some media pundits claim that blogging is a medium past its prime, one that will continue to decline in relevancy over the next five years. I simply don't understand that statement. Look at the position newspaper companies find themselves in, and tell me that larger and larger numbers of people aren't still migrating away from traditional print media to alternative online media, blogs included. The number of people I know personally that maintain their own blog, or at least contribute to an existing blog grows daily, and not because I'm constantly meeting new people. Because the people I already know are hopping the blog train and riding blog-style into the great wide blogosphere.

Personally, I think blogging, as a medium isn't going anywhere. It's micro-publishing, giving a voice to people that wouldn't normally have the opportunity to be heard. I'd argue that being heard is a basic human drive. We all have opinions. We all would like to make an impact on the world. Blogging gives you the chance to sway public opinion one entry at a time. If people are reading. I'll grant that a good deal of blogging is done in a vacuum. Blogging let's you publish to the masses only if the masses know you're there. And getting the word out about yourself is trickier than you might expect. I know. I've been trying to promote our little patch of the blogoverse for months now, to very little effect.

But, sans being heard, blogging, like journaling that came before it, still confers a strong benefit to its authors. It helps you develop your worldview. It lets you get your thoughts down into physical form. It forces you to organize and codify your views on issues (assuming that's what you write about) and helps develop solid arguments. It's a tool that can help you learn about yourself; your likes and dislikes, dreams and aspirations. It can help clarify what's important to you. Thoughts are nebulous. Fleeting. The written word is permanent. Keeping a blog gives you a snapshot of your development as a person. And it's an album you can share with other people. One they can comment on and reference years later. Blogging is like keeping a journal that everyone you know, and many that you don't, can participate in with you. It's a sharing of yourself with others, and, sometimes more importantly, with yourself.

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