This is the time of year for grand pronouncements. The death of this and the birth of that; the top 10 of last year; and the trends that will change the new year. Who am I not to join in the Kreskin fun?
Late this Fall, Wired and others took on my pet cultural institution: the blog. They claimed it was dead or dying. Soon to be overcome by shorter communications (Twitter), more social networks (Facebook) and even a resurgence of real journalists (Engadget).
I think the blog has a long life ahead. Bolstered by a continuing surge of content and loyal readers and writers. Of course the medium will change - likely at the startling pace that most things seem to these days - but, its staying power reflects the real value it delivers to our culture.
5 ways blogs will continue to influence culture in positive ways:
- Powering the spirit of innovation. Bloggers have been accused of having shiny object syndrome - darting from one new thing to the next just to claim the newest find. The positive spin on that is a sense of constant motion, of new ideas, of momentum behind innovation. This spirit of change emboldens readers and writers to reach for the bleeding edge, to expect and create new ideas.
- Building value in the ideas of the common man. Do blogs let amateurs act like experts? Or do they simply give us access to more experts? Niche topics, cheap platforms and navigation by search have given everyday experts the ability to connect with people who value their ideas and perspectives, breaking down isolation and uncovering utility that might otherwise have been missed.
- Delivering fodder for conversation. Even people who don't read blogs are influenced by them. Readers take online insights and ideas out into the world. Peppering typed and spoken conversations with what inspired or surprised them.
- Creating energy and excitement. There's nothing that moves faster around the blogosphere than big events and big scandals. The power of so many voices aligning around one cause or story is something of a lightening rod for conversation and change.
- Opens access to experts. The rules are different online. Important authors, commentators, and brands who wouldn't bother to respond to your mailed letter, OpEd or rant at book club are suddenly accessible in the blog world. Ask a question; it gets answered. Raise a concern; it gets addressed. Start a conversation; it's continued.
Who would give all that up for Twitter?