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Why Blogging Is Important
Tuesday, 2005 July 19 - 10:32 pm
And how it will change the world.

Recent events have led to a lot of talk about blogging. Why do people blog? What about all the bad things that might happen? What if people find out things about you? Gasp!

People have lost their jobs because of their blogs. People have alienated family members. Sometimes these events happen in spectacular fashion, and then all the non-bloggers shudder and say, "That's why I would never do that."

Yet, blogging is one of the Internet's fastest-growing phenomena. The number of blogs out there currently stands at nearly ten million, and that number doubles every five months. Blogs are responsible for some of the most spectacular media stories of the past couple of years. Even the crustiest of fogeys have at least heard of a blog.

People blog for any number of reasons. It can be a creative outlet. I can't tell you how much fantastically good content there is, floating out there in the blogosphere. What's amazing is that people make this content available to the world, for free, without any thought to profit or self-promotion. There is no RIAA-like entity trying to prevent us from sharing our ideas. We put our stories and our photos and our podcasts out for everyone to share, and every day we add to the collective richness of human creation. We are on the brink of a staggering renaissance of creativity, and blogging is part of what will make that happen.

For many of us, blogging is a way to connect with people. I've regained contact with friends who, if not for this blog, would only hear from me maybe once a year. And even among my close friends, everyone tells me they feel like they know me better because of my blog... and they like that. Blogging is the next phase of fulfilling the promise of the Internet: the promise that through technology, the world will become a little bit smaller and more connected. First we had e-mail, then we had the web, and now we have blogging; and with each step, we've grown a little bit closer to each other.

People are afraid, because this is change, and change is frightening. This guy seems particularly scared; he's worried about the salacious details he'll discover about job-seekers who blog. He thinks it's better if we keep our interests and feelings closeted: we shouldn't let people know that we're into technology or fashion, we shouldn't tell people about how bad drivers make us angry, we shouldn't say what we think about Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court. Hush hush. Don't ask, don't tell.

But to me, that kind of thinking just follows an ancient pattern: people are afraid of knowledge. Blogging is a way for people to spread knowledge about themselves, and the old-school thought is, "This kind of knowledge is DANGEROUS! Keep it LOCKED UP!"

In thirty years, or maybe forty, people will look back on this and laugh. They will try to explain to their kids: "We once lived in a time where some thought it actually mattered if people discovered each others' tastes in movies and clothing. We lived in a time where people were so paranoid and frightened, that they avoided contact with anyone who might write about them in a blog. We lived in a time where we were so closed-off from each other, people actually didn't want to know about other people's feelings." And the kids will roll their eyes and say, "We're glad we don't live in such a ridiculous and lonely world."

Blogging is a revolution. You can get connected or get left behind. Remember when there were people who thought they didn't need to have an email address? When companies thought they didn't need to have a web site? There will come a day where, if you do not have a blog, you will be a little luddite island unto yourself, and you will miss out on the glorious interconnectedness that blogging will bring.

It's a new world. You can be part of it. It's up to you.
Permalink  4 Comment   Bookmark and Share
Posted by Ken in: bloggers

Comments

Comment #1 from Crouching Hamster (Guest)
2005 Jul 20 - 12:32 am : #
I'm not quitting. They can take away my hamster wheel, my water bottle, and even my crunchy carrot snacks. No one is going to scare me into silence.
Comment #2 from Cori (Guest)
2005 Jul 20 - 12:01 pm : #
My roommate and some of his friends were recently blogged-stalked. i.e., someone went through all their posts, writing down all the pertinent personal information they could find (including pictures of them, and even one couple's child) and did a detailed analysis of them and their personality. In a very negative and threatening manner.

As a result, my roommate has taken down his (well-written and fascinating) blog, and his friends who received similar are angry and frightened.

The worst of it is, it looks like it must have been someone we know, someone who is possibly friends with us.
Comment #3 from MonoCerdo (Guest)
2005 Jul 20 - 12:30 pm : #
Well said!

The professor who wrote the Chronicle article you cited stated that, "Worst of all, for professional academics, it's a publishing medium with no vetting process, no review board, and no editor. The author is the sole judge of what constitutes publishable material, and the medium allows for instantaneous distribution."

To me, that's the BEST part about independent web publishing. The instantaneous dissemination of information coupled with the ability to bypass editors and publishing companies allows widespread access to voices that might never be heard within the confines of traditional print media. And, buying into the capitalist mentality, readers have exponentially more choices as we're no longer subject to the selectivity of editors and corporate review boards. Sometimes I just want to read about what someone ate for dinner or how they celebrated their birthday or what personal problems they're currently struggling with, and the blog is an affordable public medium that makes that possible.
Comment #4 from Nicholas E (Guest)
2005 Jul 21 - 9:42 am : #
The idea of anonymous blogging sort of intrigues me. It is pretty difficult to stay anonymous, and discuss things about your life. I read a few and can't help but try to figure stuff out. I'm just curious as to who they are. Though it makes me feel like a stalker. Some people never post a picture. So you always wonder what they look like.

Ken is not too anonymous minded, and he posts damn sexy pictures.

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