Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Blog Explosion

Someone recently likened the explosion of blogs to the revolutionary invention of the printing press. There is no doubt that blogs are a powerful medium, to compare their impact to the revolution in human thought, politics, art and endeavor made by Gutenberg’s moveable type press would be like saying Technicolor revolutionized life. Technicolor certainly made television more vivid and life-like, but the transmission of moving pictures into people’s homes is what revolutionized our culture.

So a blog is only a tool on the internet. If anything could be compared with the printing press, it would have to be the internet itself. Not even the personal computer has made such an impact. Without the ability to link computer to computer, PCs would be glorified typewriters, calculators, and art studios. The personal computer is the vendor or paper delivery boy, but the medium itself is the internet.

We’ve become that Global Village which the late Marshall McLuhan forecast in the 1960s. McLuhan coined the term media to describe the means of communication that were developing at break-neck pace in the mid 20th century. I’ve often wondered what he’d say about the Internet and how it has linked cities to villages, effectively shrinking the globe to a single village with many voices.

What blogs and the instantaneous methods of online publishing have done is send people around the world with the click of a mouse. While email is transmitted almost instantaneously, it must travel through a network of servers and filters before reaching its destination. There are known lags in transmission times with email. Once a website is updated, it’s immediately accessible. I can publish this page at 8:00 California time and my friend in England can read it at 8:01.

I’m giving a class at the 2005 SITE International Conference in Toronto called “Blogging for Business.” I’ve enjoyed researching the blog explosion and am looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned with others. Leave me a comment if you have any questions about blogs.

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