More on Weblogs

Blogs, Moblogs, & Vlogs: Changing the Media Landscape

Blogs

Chalk and charcoal photoshopped keyboard

Blogs go Mainstream

In 1997 Jorn Barger coined the term “weblog” and later Peter Merholz shortened it to “blog” (Wikipedia). From 1997 until recently, blogs have remained lost in Internet obscurity for most people. To date there seem to have been three instances where blogs and bloggers have been brought to the forefront. All three times it has been because the bloggers picked up on a story, mentioned it on their blogs and the effects snowballed from there (Grossman, L., 2004). In December of 2002 blogs and bloggers suddenly came to the forefront of the mainstream media (Grossman, L., 2004). Trent Lott’s racial comments at Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday caused a stir within the blogging community. As reported by both Wikipedia and Time, liberal blogger Joshua Marchall was critical in pushing for Trent Lott’s resignation from Senate Party Leader. (Grossman, L, 2004)

In April of last year, Russ Kick was able to obtain photos of military coffins coming back to the U.S. from the Middle East with the use of the Freedom of Information Act (Grossman, 2004). He published these on his website and by the following day, newspapers around the world had printed and posted these as well (Grossman, 2004).

The third event that inclined the public eye once again towards bloggers revolved around the elections and happened early in September 2004. Three bloggers (of the same website) did nothing more than suggest that the information provided in a 60 Minutes news story seemed to coincide too closely with a democratic advertisement campaign that would be revealed shortly (Grossman, 2004). From that one comment posted on their website, a torrent of responses was unleashed. One of their readers provided evidence of a possible forgery. At the same time, other bloggers began to pick up on the story. Soon, it too had became a newsworthy story as well (Grossman, 2004).

The increase in news coverage of blogs brought them to the mainstream. By now most people have at least an idea of what a weblog is. What many don’t know is that the blogosphere or blog world, much like the Internet, is always evolving and incorporating new technologies.

Moblogs

Blogging on your phone

With the rising popularity of camera phones, it was only a matter of time before those pictures were put to use (Textamerica). Now people can take pictures with their phones, and upload them to a server. This is not unlike traditional blogging, only instead of uploading just words, now people can upload pictures too. Textamerica and other servers like it are quick to offer their services free so anyone with a camera phone and/or a digital camera can partake in moblogging.

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Vlogs

Video Blogging

Just as moblogs are appealing to more people, so are video blogs, or vlogs. While a bit more complicated in terms of production than traditional blogs or even moblogs, they are still simple enough to where anyone can create one on PC or Mac (Ressner, J., 2004). There aren’t a lot of vlogs, but one of the better sites, with a nice summary of Blogs in general (presented in vlog format) is called BuzzMachine. For more information on vlogs, Vloggercon 2005 is actually a vlogged conference on new media technology and provides a wealth of information on vlogs.

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Newsblogs

Using all three formats

Newsblogs are precisely that, blogs that use any of the three, or perhaps even all three formats to provide news on a website. This, more than the other three is more in line with traditional journalism because by supplying news the blogger is no longer just offering commentary about news, rather the blogger is the provider of the news. An example of a newsblog is Cingular Wireless' Election Connection, that provided news coverage of the 2004 elections employing college students as volunteer reporters from various universities nationwide.

A collection of newsblogs is provided here with permission of the photographers, and with special thanks to the University of South Carolina School of Communications, Newsplex, Cingular Wireless, and Textamerica, all of whom made the Election Connection project possible. Campaigning 2004 Flash Media File

Podcasts

Not exactly blogging but…

The name is a bit deceiving as it may suggest that you need an iPod in order to be involved in any way. Podcasting, as defined by Wikipedia.org

is a new term for the online publishing of files in a way that allows for the subscription-like syndication and distribution of files as they become available. Most podcasts are audio in MP3 format. Other formats can be podcasted, such as video, but these are usually limited by bandwidth constraints.

Podcasts are similar to vlogging and blogging in that they can be easily adopted by many but has more in common with the radio (Terdiman, 2004). Although they are different technologies, many bloggers are providing podcasts on their websites in conjunction with their regular blogs

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