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Blogs and the Community

Before I really get into the different issues associated with online publishing that I started to talk about in my last post, I wanted to take a moment to look at blogs and how they have changed online media and the community in general.

After all, the term “blog” has been in our vernacular for over a decade now, and the way that something anybody can write is suddenly public domain, means that social commentary and the media in general has been significantly affected.

For starters, many bloggers, particularly those engaged in participatory journalism, differentiate themselves from the mainstream media, while others are members of that media working through a different channel. Some institutions see blogging as a means of “getting around the filter” and pushing messages directly to the public. Some critics worry that bloggers respect neither copyright nor the role of the mass media in presenting society with credible news. Bloggers and other contributors to user-generated content are behind Time magazine naming their 2006 person of the year as “You”.

Blogs also have the potential to have rather enormous consequences. In many oppressive governments, such as China, Burma, Sudan and Egypt, there have been many cases of bloggers being imprisoned or even deported for sentiments expressed in their blogs.

Given that blogs have been around longer than social media sites like Facebook and even MySpace, I think that blogs are really what started the true phenomenon of personal thoughts and views no longer being personal.

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