Monday, March 14, 2005

One every 5.8 seconds

When "blogging" is mentioned in Italian Vogue - in an off-hand way, as if most readers can be expected to already know what is - you can definitely call it a wide-spread phenomenon. In fact, "blog" has been denoted word of the year for 2004, and according to a US think-tank a new blog is created every 5.8 seconds (according to BBC News, here).

Another side of the issue is that only 40% of all blogs are updated more than once every two months (I'd believe that once in a week is a minimum for keeping readers), and that some seem concerned that blog readers will only seek out blogs mirroring their own views. The first part is not really something I consider a problem, since there are so very many very good blogs in a variety of areas. Naturally, not every blogger-wannabe will be verbal enough or ego-centric enough to continue blogging when the first spate of enthusiasm wears off.

And all readers cannot be expected to want to continually challenge their worldview. The amount of scandalmongering newspapers and glossy magazines that flood the market should be proof of that, if nothing else. There is definitely already enough slanted reporting, enough that noone who wants to read unchallenging material will need to go dissapointed. (For an interesting parallel to this, I suggest you go and read "The Political Blogosphere and the 2004 U.S. Election: Divided They Blog" at . At least look at the nice illustration of linking patterns between liberal and conservative blogs, which is figure 1 in the paper)

What the blogosphere offers is something rather opposite: continuity. If you follow the blog of a normally prolific writer, you'll rather soon get to know their views on the subjects they cover. And if you know a person's views you can get a quite good feeling for when they manage to be objective and what they would leave out of an account. Just as you would be able to with a person you know in 'real life'. And, come to think of it, it's rather probable that you and you friends do not differ overly much in views on the things you consider important, so most of your input is biased anyway.

And the blogosphere also offers something else: the insight that no matter your quirks or special interests, there are people just like you (altough they may live a continent or two away). I would have valued that very much when I was a teenager growing up in a small town.

Saving the best for last, I am now off to read about the 2005 bloggie awards. Especially the "How to Learn Swedish in 1000 Difficult Lessons " sound interesting, it is always rewarding to make fun of your mother language. And having memes as a category is an inspired idea, but my favourite meme is still "Friday Cat Blogging" (found at, for instance, the excellent "Mouse Words"). Must be my cat abstinence speaking.


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