How many websites do you visit a day? And of those websites, how many are social media?
While blogs, short for weblogs, exist for communication and to share knowledge, they differ from purely social sites like Facebook or Twitter, both of which are considered microblogging sites.
Microblogs trend what’s going on before it’s formally reported, often creating a buzz on your newsfeed or in the Twittersphere. A recent (fake) tweet by Kara Alongi, for example, generated more than 34,000 retweets and 6,000 calls to the local police department.
Blogs empower ordinary people to be heard. Compared to traditional media, blogs are more conversational. Comments are encouraged (even internet slang), and user feedback is essential to the proliferation of the blog. The author often listens to constructive criticism.
Furthermore, blogs have changed the nature of the news and information people consume. Previously, households typically subscribed to only one newspaper. What this means is that they are not only getting their information from a sole source, they also are exposed to the same biases. Blogging give readers a greater range of outlets to choose from and a wider array of follow-up articles to pursue with links provided.
But the main impact of blogging is the power to iterate. Breaking news is only groundbreaking if information is broadcasted within a certain time frame. In internet speak, it literally takes seconds for someone’s voice to be projected, read, and shared.
The upside of traditional media comes from the time and effort put into reporting and editing a piece. Print media often have the quality that virtual media lack.
On the other hand, blogs have numerous other advantages:
- No space constraint
- Written by people genuinely interested in the topics, not by journalists
- Links to relevant topics
- Topic can be anything
According to Felix Salmon, even “old-school blogging,” where posts are shown in reverse chronological order, is on the decline. News sites and blogs are also becoming increasingly similar as each combine elements from the other.
Will the next generation know only of micropublishing with sites like Facebook or Twitter, or only of professional sites like Business Insider or Huffington Post? What will happen to traditional media?