Tuesday, May 30, 2006

AG: Blogs and the Bypass Generation

Did you hear that?

There it is again?

Whoa, there goes another.

I recognize the sound. It is the noise made when a new blog is created. Blogging has caught on with amazing alacrity. The numbers boggle the mind (bloggle the mind?). According to Dave Sifry, founder of Technorati, there are over 35 million blogs in the blogosphere and that number grows by 75,000 every day, roughly one new blog per second. He also notes that 3.9 million bloggers update their sites at least weekly. The number of blogs have been doubling every six months and the blogosphere is over 60 times larger than three years ago. There are 50,000 new posts on blogs every hour.

That’s a lot of blogs. That’s a lot of words. People who would not write a letter, send a postcard, or compose an article are quick to toss their words on the tide of the Internet and see if anyone will fish them out.

A random sampling of blogs can make the creative writer shudder. Much, if not most, are postings of miscellanea, personal reflections on the vagaries of life, and navel gazing. Let’s face it, most blogs are a waste of electrons.

The downside of blogging is this: Everyone has an opinion and many assume the world wants to hear it. That goes for this blog. Something on the topic of books, writing, imagination, or creativity strikes me and I pen my thoughts for others to read, and I do so bathed in the hubristic belief that there are folk out there waiting for it.

So, are blogs bad things? Not at all. On the positive side, information that would have had to wait for placement in an article or a book can be disseminated in minutes. I have a list of blogs I visit on a regular basis. They range from bioethics, FastCompany, author blogs to news outlets. Some are serious and chockablock with more information than I can absorb. Other’s are light as Cool Whip, not very nourishing but a pleasure nonetheless.

Blogging is evolving faster than most know. In the few short years it has been around it has spawned podcasting which is a form of audio blogging and now the “Vlog”—video blogging. Sites like the http://www.rocketboom.com/ (warning, the site is not everyone’s cup o’ tea and I list it for illustrative purposes only) have had sudden and unexpected success. Despite (or perhaps because of) it’s cheesy, silly approach, it has become a big hit.

Digital Life (http://www.dl.tv/) is operated by a crew formally associated with TechTV. TechTV, had a short but productive life until Paul Allen (cofounder of Microsoft) sold it to G4, a Canadian company. The sale doomed TechTV in the U.S. What's an employee to do? Some started their own television station on the Internet, something that would have been impossible a few years ago.

Now here’s the thing, blogging, podcasting, video blogging have created a bypass generation—people who get done what they want without publisher, studio execs, or other large corporations. Relying on viral marketing, word of mouth, and the Internet’s ability to reach any home for next to nothing, these upstarts thumb their noses at the traditional and let their creativity flow. Some of it is really good.

When the Internet still wore diapers its proponents touted it as the way information would be retrieved in the future. Well, the future arrived early and the Internet proved to be far more that a conduit of facts, it has become the place to disseminate ideas, stories, books, homegrown television shows, movies, commentary, and much more.

The question is what will we do with it? How will it change the publication business? It used to be that writers penned articles, short stories, or books. Now they write for web pages and blogs. Is a new breed of writer coming?

Did you hear that?

It’s another new blog, and this one has real potential.

Alton Gansky lives and writes and blogs in California. www.altongansky.com.


At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AG: "Much, if not most, are postings of miscellanea, personal reflections on the vagaries of life, and navel gazing."

Well, we can only hope they'll keep the latter off the video blogs at least.


At 5:54 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

What's surprised me is the blogosphere community. It's a pretty tight group in the CBA fiction world. I'd assume that other niche blogs have found each other too. It's pretty cool to have some of your best friends live all over the world and be in communication with them constantly. (Though I must say I don't know who has the time to read about everyone else's personal life. The blogs I frequent teach me something.)

At 11:29 PM, Blogger Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

Blogging gives me a chance to interact with people I would normally not have the opportunity to meet!

But it can get time consuming...and addictive!


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