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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Blogging your Future

Well, we are nearing the end or our 4040 blogging "journey". No longer will we be motivated by the obligation of weekly posting and commenting requirements (although, hopefully, that was not our only incentive to blog). Where do we go from here?

What are your future blogging plans?
Current results

(Please participate only if you are in English 4040. Thanks!)

Here are three trends in blogging that might influence our future blogging endeavors.

To reiterate one topic I touched upon in a previous post:

1) Vast and rapid growth in the number of bloggers.
According to Bloggers Blog
"David Sifry, the CEO and founder of Technorati, has posted another State of the Blogosphere report. This report focuses on blogosphere growth and it shows strong growth continuing. The blogosphere is still doubling every six months and Technorati now tracks over 35 million blogs."
Bloggers Blog highlights the following trends from the "State of the Blogosphere report:

* Technorati now tracks over 35.3 Million blogs
* The blogosphere is doubling in size every 6 months
* It is now over 60 times bigger than it was 3 years ago
* On average, a new weblog is created every second of every day
* 19.4 million bloggers (55%) are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created
* Technorati tracks about 1.2 Million new blog posts each day, about 50,000 per hour

While this growth in blogging does signify some positive consequences such as in increase in the diversity of thoughts and ideas, an amplified voice and power for the "average" citizen and consumer to comment upon or criticize the governement and business and enact change, and a broadened opportunity for one to meet new social and intellectual friends/peers, the growth can also be detrimental.

According to Anita Campbell on the blog Ego:

"If you are just now starting to blog, it's going to be harder to get noticed by other bloggers and have your voice stand out. It just stands to reason. It's harder to stand out of 70 million blogs than it was to stand out from a few thousand blogs in 2000 or even a few hundred thousand blogs in 2001.
The newer bloggers who want to get noticed will have to work harder. They will have to visit established blogs, comment regularly, write good content and let other bloggers know about that content by sending emails to friendly bloggers. They
will have to participate in as many blog directories as they can find and participate in legitimate traffic generating initiatives such as BlogExplosion."

Do you agree with Anita? Do you feel the pressure to compete with the vast number of bloggers in the blogosphere? Do you think this will ultimately discourage bloggers from entering the blogosphere?

Some bloggers are even leaving the blogosphere. As I noted in a previous post, Family Medicine Notes blogger, Jacob, states:

"...blogging has matured, and so has medical blogging. Back in 1999 and 2000,
there were a handful of medical bloggers (literally!) and we all had a bit of a
role in educating each other and the world about what is is that physicians do,
think, read, etc. [. . .] But there's lots of that now. Hundreds (thousands?) of
medlical bloggers are posting daily and - frankly - I don't think the Internet
needs me anymore..."

This, then, raises another question: If bloggers are leaving, is the quantitative growth of blogging occuring at the cost of the quality of content?

Another Bloggers Blog post asserts that some experts are concerned about the quality of information available in the blogosphere. In the post, it is stated that:

"National Geographic has an article that urges environment, climate and conservation experts to start blogs to fight the growing amount of junk science that is published today."

The post further describes:

Alison Ashlin, a doctoral candidate at the Oxford University Centre for the
Environment in Great Britain . . . cites her own field as a prime example of the
need for more accurate blogs fuelled by top researchers.
'Currently, there are roughly 400,000 weblogs featuring discussions on environmental and conservation-related issues, which makes it difficult to assess the general quality of scientific information on weblogs,' she wrote in her paper."

As a blogger: Do you feel pressured to compete with the numerous other bloggers? What implications do you think the growing popularity of blogs has for the blogging world and for our society in general? Do you think potential bloggers are enticed or discouraged by the growing number of blogs? Do you think existing bloggers are affected by the growing number of blogs?

As a blog reader: Do you think the growing number of blogs makes it harder to find quality blogs? Do you think blog readers are discoraged by the sheer volume of blogs and information available?

2) Blogging to market . . . yourself.
On, Margaret Stead talks about encouraging older individuals to use blogging to publicize their skills and experience and market themselves for jobs. Stead argues:

"[I]f you use the blog to promote yourself and to expose your credentials, it's like an
"extended" business card . . . There's a special magic to blogs that I've
discovered over the last few years. It seems that when my coaching clients can
send their blog live.. that almost overnight... they get super job offers and
work projects that are fantastic. And, it's not just the people who are reading
their material. I think putting together a weblog and sending it out there and
telling the universe what you want to do and what your dream is... makes you a
very... attractive person. It makes you appear confident. It gives you a
platform and an expertise that you perhaps didn't, you know, recognize before
and other people didn't recognize."

The basic tenet of her argument is that through blogging you can use key words that have the potential to draw a limitless number of potential employers to your site where they can see your skills, your interests, and your experiences.

This is somewhat like the blog portfolio we are all working on, or will be working on. The difference being that the blog itself would be a sort of live, ongoing portfolio. You could then include your blog link, like your e-mail address, on your resume. The blog can demonstrate not only your competency in your field, but also your technological competency, which is in growing demand in our society.

How feasible do you think this is in the real world? Can it be of use to those of us entering the job market soon?

3) Bloggers' responsibilities
Apple computers is currently in a lawsuit with a number of bloggers over the leak of information about a new Apple product. On InfoSecDaily it is described that:

"Apple says the leak, published through the journalists’ blogs, is “a very
serious theft”, and is attempting to force the bloggers to reveal their sources.
A ruling on the suit is expected within 90 days."

Another article on CNET at states:

"The case being argued Thursday addresses whether online journalists deserve the
same rights as traditional reporters. In previous court filings, Apple claimed they should not. Its lawyers say in court documents that Web scribes are not "legitimate members of the press" when they reveal details about forthcoming products that the company would prefer to keep confidential."

Outside of the US, an article on CBC describes:

"A businessman on P.E.I. has offered a $1,000 reward for information about an
anonymous internet blogger who's been taking shots at prominent Islanders on a
pair of websites."

While we have gone back and forth in class about whether bloggers are or are not journalists, it is clear that blogging comes with certain responsibilities. The purpose of trying to place blogging in the category of journalism seems to be largely based on a need to define specifically what those responsibilities are and outline boundaries for bloggers.

How do the cases above affect your thoughts on or perhaps fears of freely posting on your blog? Without the natural boundaries that the class has set for our blogging content, do you worry about your blogging in the future? Do you think that these cases help or hinder blogging as a practice or the blogging community?

Good luck to everyone . . . and "blog on"!

*Crossposted on Look to the Sky


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