Ye Olde Swimming Hole

current, insightful, yet nostalgic

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Future of Blogs

Following a report indicating a slowing in the growth of blog readership The Chicago Tribune attempted to euthanize the trend with an editorial that downplays blogs and their influence. It asks the question "are blogs dying." Anyone who truly understands the significance of what is happening can see the editors simply don't get it or they are hoping this trend, that is so irritating to their business will some how go away.

But they are focusing too much on the form and not enough on the function. Blogs will evolve and change, but hoping people will stop using this technology is about as useful as the Catholic Church hoping the reformers would simply stop using the printing press. (In his book, Blog, Hugh Hewitt compares blogs to the Reformation). The form may change, but now every person has access to their own printing press and the media's monopoly on information is being eroded.

I think it's very exciting to see what's happening. It is chaos at times, but the exciting part is the ability to share information. We can now read the thoughts of the brightest minds around the country and world. We can read analysis of current events written by true experts, unfiltered by gatekeepers. A new breed of reporters will be born, as this excerpt from Glenn Reynolds new book explains. Those who understand this see right through the Chicago Tribune editorial and others who think this is just a passing fad. That's not to say that blogging will continue at its current pace, but the basic concept will not go away.

There is another interesting thing about the Tribune editorial. Blogs will not replace the news side of the media, but they might just seriously impact the editorial side of newspapers. David Weinberger of the Harvard Berkman Center has talked about this. Why do we need to read the opinions of some editors at a newspaper on a certain subject when instead we can read the opinions of true experts? That's not to say editors aren't smart people, they're just not experts in everything and so we get editorials like this. So the Chicago Tribune editorial page has good reason to predict the death of blogs blogs; its very relevance is at stake.


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