[FORUM]Blogs: a media alternativeOn July 26, an experiment was tried at the 2004 U.S. Democratic National Convention held in the Fleet Center in Boston. In this place where the Democrats gathered to nominate their party’s candidates for president and vice president, 35 Internet users who were not professional journalists were given press permits by the party to cover the convention and post their report on their personal Web logs, or “blogs.”
The Democrats gained from allowing this new form of coverage and they knew it. The bloggers were even given a designated space where they could interview star politicians.
Blogs, those individual spaces on the Internet that portal Web sites offer at no cost, are changing the way individuals communicate with the world. Blogs are magical tools that allow Internet users to interact far more freely with others than on individual Web sites. The blogger can write freely about his or her experiences or particular field of specialty and post pictures, videos and other forms of expression.
Whenever a new message is posted, the main Web site to which the blog belongs advertises this fact. When other bloggers leave comments on your blog, all you has to do is click on that person’s name to move to that person’s own blog. Bloggers can designate special “buddies” and receive automatic notices of any changes in their buddies’ blogs. The bloggers can even copy articles and pictures from other blogs and paste them in their own blogs. A completely new form of human relationship is taking place in cyber world.
People who share the same interests can become friends and share sources of information with one another through blogs. Blogs can also provide means of entertainment. The trend among Korean blogs is to post many pictures. There is no better way than blogs for an ordinary person to let the rest of the world know that he or she exists. It is estimated that there are already over 20 million blogs here.
The power of blogging is in its ability to convey the emotions of the blogger to other people. While the anonymity of the Internet usually means that there are always rude people, blogs are more or less traceable and so ensure that people are responsible for what they post. Blogs are the Internet with a human face. The more honest and open a blog is, the more popular it seems to be.
Recently, a message posted by a father in his journal about raising his new baby drew a lot of attention. The message was about the 100 things he wanted to do for his baby daughter. Celebrities and politicians have also taken advantage of the fact that when stories on their lives or photos are posted, hundreds of fans leave comments on their blogs. It would be a good idea for the JoongAng Ilbo to use the blog to promote a “We Start” campaign to help children from impoverished families and expand its volunteer network.
Now the numerous postings on blogs are being considered by many people a legitimate source of news. The Baghdad Blog by Salam Pax, conveying a first-person narrative of the war in Iraq, is a famous example.
Some experts are even predicting that the blog will replace the conventional media in the influence it wields in the news market. Blogs are starting to look like a challenge to the conventional media.
Dave Weiner, creator of one of the best-known blogs in the United States, made a public challenge to the chief executive office of the Internet edition of the New York Times. He claimed that by the year 2007, more searches would be made on Google for his blogs than for New York Times articles. The wrestling match between the media and the blog is as exciting as anything we could hope to see in the Olympics.
* The writer is a deputy managing editor for digital news of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Kim Il