Confusing technology with content

Today’s paper had an opinion piece by nationally syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman questioning bloggers credibility.
This showcases a common misconception about what a “blog” is and isn’t- and the failure to understand the difference is really important.
Suppose I picked up a copy of the National Enquirer– and judged all newspapers by it’s content? Would it bode well for the New York Times? Could I say that anyone with a printing press producing a newspaper is an idiot? Of course not.
The same is true for blogs. A blog is nothing different than a printing press- only it doesn’t print to newsprint (dead trees and ink) but to the world wide web. It puts the power to distribute any content to the world- in everyone’s hands. This scares the traditional media- because the barriers to entry are almost nil, and the audience is much larger.
The word “Blog” is a technology- for managing content easily on the web- much like a printing press is a technology for putting ink on paper- it really should mean nothing about the content. If I said “Book”- you wouldn’t automatically assume I was talking about any specific type of book- unless I said “thriller” or “business self help”- so why is “blog” so quickly associated with ranting by the disenfranchised- or kids journaling? Is it because big media is interested in buying time to figure out a new revenue stream as theirs dries up?
A blog is nothing more than a content management and web publishing system rolled into one. It’s the easiest way to build and maintain a website. What you put on that site is up to you- just don’t get caught up in the semantics posed by the soon to be unemployed columnists like Ellen Goodman.


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