The internet offers a place where people communicate using different platforms and on many different levels. The World Wide Web has changed the way people use the internet to communicate and collaborate with others and it is now a common use in our everyday lives. Blogging has become a tool that internet users are able to use to promote, advertise and familiarise themselves with the internet world. This allows them to communicate and collaborate with others all over the world freely and quickly. Blogs allow people the freedom to share their ideas and thoughts with others instantly all over the world and is an integral part of the internet for individuals, businesses and the media as we know it today.
Blogs first began on the World Wide Web in the mid 1990’s and were developed for people to use a simple and free publishing tool to create their own personal writing space. Blogs were developed as a way for users to publish their ideas and views to other people over the internet and even promote or advertise products (Shelly, Gunter & Gunter, 2010). The nature of blogs means that they are designed to “make material widely available to facilitate sharing and collaborating” (The University of Melbourne, 2008). A key element of blogging is that it allows people to create, share, collaborate & communicate with people all over the world. Whilst using it with Web 2.0, it differs from previous years as anybody is able to participate, with a large audience around the world (The University of Melbourne, 2008). The key attraction to creating a blog is the “potential for individual and informal expression” (Bruns, 2006, p. 250) without the need for a third party to create it for you. Blogs are also fast becoming a way to publish photos or other images, sounds or films quickly and efficiently (The University of Melbourne, 2008).
Blogging is a fundamental part of the social web. For a blog to be successful, and reach as many people as possible, it relies heavily on its community of readers (Gunelius, 2012). This is established through different platforms including online networking and promotion and participating in relevant online activities (Gunelius, 2012). As a social communicative platform, blogs invite people to view these rich content pages, comment on the entries made or respond to comments made by other visitors. This can be extremely empowering to people, businesses and the media and can influence people’s decisions and the information they are provided with. As communities of users grow, the quicker information is shared and responded to. This is now more readily available with the amount of links and content that can be added to blogs. Web 2.0 enables dynamic content to be used on blogs that can help reach a wider audience without the need for face-to-face contact or telephone calls.
Blogs are fast becoming the ultimate communication and collaboration tool for people. Research has predicted that blogs will become the primary method of sharing information with others in the future (Shelly, Gunter & Gunter, 2010). It is also suggested by Bruns (2006) that as the internet continues to grow and change in the future, “it is likely that blogging will continue to embrace a wider range of media forms” (p. 251). This includes the use of blogs from companies to promote and discuss all aspects of their company’s products or be entertained and informed (Shelly, Gunter & Gunter, 2010). The entries can be a few sentences long to large quantities of written work and often contain links to other websites or blogs (Shelly, Gunter & Gunter, 2010). This can be extremely useful to businesses or the mainstream media. Blogging gives companies and the media the ability to influence customers and users efficiently with up to date information, manage discussions and quickly respond to people when the need arises (Lodico, 2010).
Blogs are essentially used as personal online journals, although some have come to be highly regarded as sources of information that are utilised by traditional media. Countless numbers of information, conversations and collaboration from blogs can move quickly over the internet. This means that blogging has become a popular tool for people to utilise and breaking news, latest release videos and images or ideas can spread very quickly (Walker-Rettberg, 2008). Events can be reported as rapidly by the people who experience them as they are by the media. Even mainstream media use blog posts by other people who have witnessed and posted about an event (Walker-Rettberg, 2008). The average person armed with new technology, is in as powerful position as the media. They are able to attend events and publish their version of events and compete with the mainstream media (Lodico, 2010).
With blogs, there are no barriers to the information that people receive and more people are able to contribute their ideas and opinions on different threads. People are not satisfied with being told what to think, say or do and have joined blogging sites to have their say (Gunelius, 2012). Blogging has unleashed an explosion of opinion. Traditionally, governments and media had the power to communicate exactly what they wanted us to hear. However, through the development of the social web, everyone is able to voice an opinion on a subject (McGovern, 2004). Whilst everyone is able to have an opinion through blogging sites, it also now means that there is the ability for people to be subjected to unwanted criticism. This can cause people unnecessary pain, anguish and damage reputations. People should always be aware that what they post online is still in a public domain for everyone to see.
Blogs change the way people receive current information. Traditional media publications can be limited to daily, weekly or monthly. However, through the use of blogs, these publications can be mass-distributed quickly and at a fraction of the cost. Blogs can empower businesses and the media. Blogs are designed to encourage people to communicate with each other frequently and their very nature is designed for sharing and communicating at a fast pace (Lodico, 2010). Perhaps the most important change for businesses is that blogging has allowed them to connect and sell to clients in new and innovating ways. Blogging allows people to remember businesses and help prospective customers find new companies to do business with (Intellacore, 2008).
One of the appeals of blogging is that they enable people to communicate and collaborate freely even if they aren’t present and online at the same time. People post their ideas, experiences or conversations online and others are able to access these days, months or even years after they have been placed on the blog (Walker-Rettberg, 2008). However, as Blood (2008) highlights, this also means that there are no restrictions to the content that people are posting. This gives people, businesses and the media the opportunity to give their own opinions, ideas and perspectives on topics and these posts are designed to permanently stay on the blog for people to access anytime.
Blogs can also have links that are embedded in them to help people connect with others and important information. Linked in RSS feeds deliver regularly updated information from blog pages on the Internet and enables people to be updated and connected to their favourite websites without having to visit them (Leelefever, 2007). People subscribe to a blog RSS feed and are then updated through that feed with new information and posts that is delivered as soon as the post is published and becomes available (Goldsborough, 2007). Blogs also give people the power to link others to their blog and create a small community of blog users. This means that blog users are connected with other blogs and users or important web pages and are found quickly and more easily. This gives readers the ability to follow links to the sites that they want to review which is now easier to do than with the older hypertext systems before Web 2.0 (Walker-Rettberg, 2008).
Another way in which blogs have changed the way people communicate and collaborate is the way blogs are being used for research purposes. Blogs are being used for social scientific research as they are less costly than traditional social research methods, produce instantaneous results, are quick and easy to set up and are able to reach a wider audience (Hookway, 2008). It also allows people to be honest and open as most of the responses people give can remain anonymous (Hookway, 2008). Using blogs as a research tool is also highly effective as posts can be archived allowing people to quickly search for posts that have been produced weeks or even years ago and examine results over time (Hookway, 2008). This is a great way of getting feedback from others and enabling suggestions for future improvements in different areas.
It can now be seen that blogs and blogging offer a highly interactive feature for people to use when communicating and collaborating with people. Many people, businesses and traditional media outlets now have their own blogs and are using them to reach a wide audience all over the world. Blogging is a vital tool to help people share their knowledge, be informed and stay connected through their writing, incorporating links, videos and pictures. Blogs will continue to evolve with the ease and immediacy of the way people are able to communicate and collaborate. As technology advances, blogging tools will continue to improve and the accessibility for people using them over the internet and World Wide Web facilities.
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**Please do not plagiarise my assignment. I worked hard writing and researching for this topic. You are however, welcome to cite any section as long as you respectively give credit to my work.
Harrison, M. (2013). “Blogging” Assignment 2 Essay for Web Communications 101. SP4, February 1, 2013. Curtin University.