As a somewhat dubious participant in the blogging process, this course for me has begged the question, why blog? It is an innovative new communication tool giving a voice to those who wouldn’t otherwise be heard, or merely a pointless exercise alllowing people to pontificate into cyberspace? They say in space no one can hear you scream, does the same apply to cyberspace?
Blogging has certainly taken off in recent years, Wired magazine claimed that “9 blogs are created every minute and 2.3 content updates are posted every second”, (http://www.caslon.com.au/weblogprofile1.htm) other evidence indicates that despite the thousands apparantly making blogs, many swiftly disappear with “60-80% of bloggers giving up within one month of starting”. (http://www.caslon.com.au/weblogprofile1.htm) As is well known, statistics on internet use are very difficult to measure but these figures may indicate that people don’t always find the blogging process as beneficial as some might believe.
Some suggest that the relative ease with which you can set up a blog makes it very easy to give up. Despite certain bloggers gaining huge noteriety from their blogging, who will actually read you blog if they do not have to? It could in fact therefore be true that in cyberspace no one can hear you scream either!
So why bother? The proponents of blogging claim people like to learn and hear others opinions, while this may be true, the relative ease with which any internet user can blog indicates that quality can be difficult to find and define in the blogosphere. Paul Scrivens in answer to the question why blog believes that if you write with passion all else will fall in to place. However if someone is passionate about an issue you do not care for or passionately argues for a view that you strongly disagree with it is incredibly easy to click off your web browser and not pay it any attention. Publishing blogs is not like publishing books, there is no subjective judgement of the quality of your work and therefore anyone can potentially post anything. It could therefore be argued that having too much freedom is just as restrictive as having too little.
When the majority of people start blogs what do they do it for. Do they want to have a diary of their thoughts as they go through life, this may well be true, but personally i believe looking back on some of my opinions from a couple of years ago would make me cringe rather than giving me a happy reminder of times past. Traditionally people have kept diaries of their thoughts that were very much private, sold with locks to prevent even your nearest and dearest viewing them, let alone putting out there for the judgement of the world’s 1 billion internet users. Of course blogging is anonymous, despite that i would not want to share my deepest thoughts with the world, even if they didn’t know who i was.
If then people blog to get others to listen to them, how is there any chance that anyone will want to listen. WordPress indicates that over 56,000 new blog posts have been created today, you would have to have a serious blogging addiction to read just 5% of those. But maybe that’s not the point, as Lorelle Vanposen points out blogging is not predefined, the one best practice rule is “express yourself”. (http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2007/08/06/why-blog/) It may also be a great way of learning about yourself, maybe my opinion will change as i come back to this blog over time. However at present i am inclined to take the opinion that blogging involves thousands of people screaming in to cyber space without anyone necessarily listening. Thus if people really want to make a difference, maybe they should save their energy and express it through avenues where they can in fact be heard, whether it be at the ballot box or their local MPs surgery.