[Note from Jim: This was too good not to pass on. For those interested in blogging, the Personal Tech Pipeline is a good resource.]
The Blog Herald reported an estimate this week of 62 million blogs published worldwide.
Some would say that's about 62 million too many.
Oftentimes the mainstream media belittles bloggers as an unruly mob of hacks that don't check their facts, use first-person sources or present evenhanded, balanced views.
Inherent in this criticism is the assumption that bloggers are wannabe journalists who fall short.
The criticism is driven largely by two phenomena. First, professional journalists feel threatened by bloggers, not because bloggers are better journalists, but because they fear (and should fear) that bloggers are being listened to, and at the expense of traditional media.
Second and more interestingly, the criticism is based on a failure of the old media to understand the new. The same thing happens with all new media. When motion pictures were invented, they were compared to stage plays and found wanting (they didn't have sound, for example). What the theater critics failed to understand is that both stage plays and movies would co-exist as very different forms of entertainment that should be judged by their own separate criteria.
Ditto with journalism and blogs. Eventually we will judge them each by its own standards.
And, if you think about it, blogs tend to fall somewhere on the credibility spectrum between journalism and idle gossip. Sure, blogs can be viewed as low-quality journalism. But they can also be viewed as super high-quality heresy.
Both journalism and gossip have a roll -- we all participate at some level in both. And blogs have a role -- and many attributes radically superior to both journalism and casual conversation.
It's time we all accept that blogging isn't journalism -- nor is it necessarily idle chitchat. Blogging enables individual people to be empowered by technology to place their ideas unfiltered into a global "marketplace" for any and all to enjoy, enhance, discuss or ignore.
Read more at: www.PersonalTechPipeline.com.
Editor, Personal Tech Pipeline