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Wednesday, November 10, 2004Fortune has written recently about the blogging phenomenon and its reach.
The latest version of MyYahoo! allows its users to create custom home pages that automatically bring up headlines from any blogs you select, using a technology called RSS (Really Simple Syndication). The software can also draw in stories from commercial sites, including FORTUNE's. What I wonder, as RSS and related software get better and better, is why readers will ever want to go to a media company's own website if they can craft their own out of the information feeds that they know are of most interest to them? Expect to see the very definition of the commercial media website evolve radically in the years ahead. But blogs are not only mere repositories of words, they are the presenters of links. Each blog includes links to other web resources. And here is another way that blogs are having a major impact on the commercial press: the articles with the biggest buzz will increasingly be the ones that bloggers point to most. Blogs aren't merely an alternative to the press or a critical commentary on it. They are symbiotic with it. And the software that enables blogging is getting so simple to use that almost anybody can use it. That's why the power of this medium will grow over time.
Ironically, just today a release from Yahoo crossed my desk, describing a study it commissioned of avid newspaper readers. Amazingly, of this group, 72% access the Internet every day, while only 42% read a daily paper, despite their professed avidity. It appears I'm not alone. The study was conducted by the Faulker Focus and Ipsos-Insight research firms. If you want to really understand the significance of blogging as a new media alternative, read, We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People, written by the incisive Dan Gillmor. Ironically, this sage analyst of the blogging phenomenon and veteran blogger himself is an employee of the San Jose Mercury-News, owned by Knight Ridder.
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