Thursday, August 2, 2007

About This Blog

This blog was created as part of an assignment in my first class: The Global Impact of New Communication Technologies. Below is my preamble, which in part explains my motivation for creating this blog (at the bottom in bold):

When asked to explain how weblogs and personal publishing are transforming global communication I am reminded of a time in my childhood when personal computers were first introduced in the 80s. My mother was a professional typesetter with her own business, working on very expensive equipment she had to finance (or more appropriately, mortgage) through the local bank. She recognized the personal computer was about to transform the state of publishing and was smart enough to sell her business, equipment and debt included, before the equipment (and she) became obsolete.

This experience is not lost on me as an analogy for the impact of weblogs and personal publishing is having on our lives today. Now, anyone with internet access can easily (and at no cost) set up a blog and publish their ideas, thoughts, or dreams. I personally don’t want to see publishing go entirely electronic, and I don’t think it will, since there are still valid uses for print (Barnes and Noble is doing quite well, just for one example.) However, I feel the traditional print industry, if it is unwilling to embrace this dramatic change in how people communicate, can only make itself obsolete by ignoring this revolution in communication.

The possible socio-economic implication of blogs and bloggers is what I believe will impact the way society communicates and publishes. It is the ‘viral’ effects in the structure of blogs that give them the power to transform global communication. The most popular posts (and blogs) float to the top of searches, are passed amongst friends and co-workers, and become the most visible, most read, and possibly most trusted. In the past, people turned to television or newspapers for their primary source of the news. These advertisers powered the media content because their money (especially when talking about network TV) made available the program itself. This traditional communication structure easily allows an advertiser or sponsor to influence what kind of news is broadcast/published. Personal blogs are not yet beholden to any advertiser or sponsor who could affect their content. Also, video outlets such as youtube enable the ‘reader’ to have the television experience without the television, and contribute to the viral quality of the new media.

The ‘viral’ effect of blogs could also be seen in an organized movement by bloggers. This will be seen for the first time on a large scale on October 15 when Blog Action Day ( arrives. On this day, many of the major blogs alongside hundreds (if not thousands) of small ones will commit to posting about environmental issues, and are urged to donate the day’s proceeds to an environmental cause. I think this will be huge. It takes a bunch of small (and large) ripples in a pond to create a tidal wave, and our environment sure needs it. Perhaps more compelling, though, will be the measurement of the effort, and where it could be applied elsewhere to aid in charitable efforts.

My blog is somewhat of a soapbox approach. After 10+ years in working in some sort of marketing role for several companies it has become abundantly clear to me how many people “believe what they see on TV”. My blog will be used to create posts that are informative, backed up by links to credible pages to bolster my opinions. I hope to help people make informative choices on everyday issues (mostly what they put in/on their body). I want to part of affecting change. And I now have the perfect platform and resources to do so.

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