Blogito Ergo, What?

“As part of the broader trend toward participatory, networked grass roots journalism, blogs are influencing how products are introduced, how political campaigns are run and even how wars are fought” (Carroll, 137). 

That sounds like something important enough to know about right? In today’s reading from Carroll’s Chapter 7 titled, “Blogito, Ergo Sum,” he focuses on how the world of blogging has impacted society at large. Although I don’t believe my blog will affect any products or campaigns or wars any time soon, many blogs do. Often the collection of blogs has a greater impact as well. When one blog posts about the war in Iraq, a few people read it and move on. But, when it is all Internet users are seeing on all the blogs they read, it is a different story. I can only hope my blog would one day be significant enough to impact another person’s life.

Carroll addresses the collective force of blogging. He says, “At the very least, blogging is an expression, making one’s views public. Increasingly though, blogging is also an expression of community, allowing individuals to communicate and congregate” (Carroll, 137). As blogging becomes an online “community,” we are seeing its impact on a larger scale. This community feel blogs are creating is fascinating me. The community that surrounds me (my friends, family, professors, mentors) has always been a fundamental part of my life, but I have never considered the online world to have the same effect.

The question of “is blogging journalism?” was another focus of Carroll’s in this chapter. He asks the question like this: “Is anyone with a blog a journalist? Is anyone with a camera a photographer?” (Carroll, 146). I started thinking about the question once framed this way, and I am now even more confused than I was previously. I have never considered anyone with a camera a photographer because, for example, I have watched my sweet grandfather try to take a picture using his iPhone. But, could that simply mean there are good and bad journalists? We would still call someone who took a photograph the photographer, but it may simply be lacking in quality compared to a professional photographer with training and skills and a professional platform for his work. “That anyone with a Google name and password can begin writing and publishing to the world from his or her own URL in a matter of minutes at no cost is momentous, on a scale similar to Gutenberg’s liberating of knowledge with moveable type” (Carroll, 145).

To be considered journalism, Carroll requires only two things. One refers to Kovach and Rosentiel’s “Discipline of Verification.” And the other is that the blogger’s purpose must be serving the public interest. He mentions that pure objectivity is impossible, but still something the media world should strive for. So what really is blogging? Blogs seem to often have different motives than journalism. They are usually meant for commentary and opinions, rather than facts and original reporting.

Of course, it helps if you have something to say. This is the hard part. Anyone can start up a blog technically, but few can write well enough, with enough substance, to make it a worthwhile read over a sustained period of time (Carroll, 150).

Do I have something worthwhile to say?

Thanks for reading!

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