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Filter - Cynthia L. Webb

Blogging Goes Mainstream

By Cynthia L. Webb
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Friday, December 20, 2002; 9:57 AM

Filter's Holiday Break 'Tis the season for eggnog, Rudolph and gift-giving. Filter will be celebrating the holidays too. This column will not publish from Monday, Dec. 23 through Wednesday, Jan. 1. In the meantime, drop me an e-mail and let me know what you think the top technology trends will be for 2003. I'll get out the crystal ball too and kick of the New Year with some of your wise predictions. Still need your Filter fix? Scroll through the Filter archives. Happy Holidays!

Year of the Blog

_____About Filter_____
Filter looks at the day's top technology news through snapshots and analysis of what the world's media outlets are covering. Washingtonpost.com's new Mon.-Fri. feature is penned by technology reporter Cynthia L. Webb. If a technology story breaks, a company falters or triumphs, or there's a new trend in technology, Filter wants you to know about it.

_____Filter Archive_____
Wired for Security (washingtonpost.com, Jan 20, 2005)
For Techs, Are Happy Days Here Again? (washingtonpost.com, Jan 19, 2005)
Video Game Dream Team (washingtonpost.com, Jan 18, 2005)
A Failing Upgrade for the FBI (washingtonpost.com, Jan 14, 2005)
New Year's Hacks (washingtonpost.com, Jan 13, 2005)
More Past Issues
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Blogs, or online Web logs of news and views, were the hot story of 2002, the year when blogging caught the eye of the mainstream press in a big way and pundits began to recognize blogs as useful tools for everything from venting about politics to raving about a favorite band.

MSNBC and The San Jose Mercury News are just two "mainstream" outlets that have staffers who write blogs. UC Berkeley this year started a Web log class for students. London's The Guardian has picked up on the growing blogging trend too: "A way from the big players, as ever, many of the most interesting things to happen on the web this year have grown organically. The continued rise of blogging as a medium is a prime example of the web's power to democratize content," the newspaper wrote this week.

A piece in London's The Independent surmises that the rise in blogging this year might actually have to do with all the unemployed techies -- more time for technology-savvy minds to put their thoughts online: "We once sat in Aeron chairs, played table football on company-provided tables, and sailed midnights on San Francisco Bay on company-rented yachts. We wrote code, we marketed, we worked late, very late. A couple of us became wealthy, very wealthy. A lot didn't," Chris Gulker, a blogger in his own right, wrote in the newspaper. "Many of us are Webloggers 'bloggers' for short. It would be interesting to see if there's a correlation between the meteoric rise of blogging, the practice of keeping a frequently-updated online journal, and the rise of unemployment in Silicon Valley and other tech corridors. When you're not working, you don't have to worry about the boss objecting to you working on a blog."
The Independent: The View From Silicon Valley: Bloggers Come in From the Cold

Blogs can run the gamut from simple text postings to complex diaries, filled with downloaded pictures and graphics, like jenny.blogspot.com/.

The Washington Post ran a piece on the popularity of blogs yesterday, by writer and blogger Jennifer Balderama (she publishes a blog called "Nonsense Verse." Balderama wrote: "In the past couple of years, hundreds of thousands of people have been drawn to this burgeoning realm of digital publishing. Free Web-based software has made it so easy to publish a blog that even the code-phobic can thrive in a world once dominated by HTML wizards. ... But since many bloggers have no background in publishing, they often come to the medium unaware of the rules that apply, and complaints are becoming more common. Many people publish as if they were untouchable, assuming that because what they write appears in a virtual world, it won't come back to burn them in the "real" world. Many overlook the fact that their rants can potentially reach millions of people when posted on the Internet. The same law that relates to publishing in the offline world, generally speaking, applies to material posted publicly on a Web log."
The Washington Post: Free Speech, Virtually

Potential legal woes aside, blogging still offers a forum for many people to vent and find a sense of community online. There are technology blogs and blogs on every subject imaginable, even dieting, as the Sydney Morning Herald's Jenny Sinclair noted this week.

We know blogging has hit the mainstream for sure when companies are trying to make a profit on what started as a grass-roots effort. This week a Providence, R.I. company called Traction Software unveiled new versions of Web log software for businesses, designed for marketers to conduct market research online.
eWeek: Traction Extends Enterprise Blogging

What's your favorite blog? Send them my way!


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