I’ve finally got around to posting my Fin Rev piece on blogging. Although I didn’t use the much-debated word ‘parasitic’, I think I contributed to this characterization with my concluding paras:
claims that blogging will displace traditional media are not merely premature but unsound. Bloggers are dependent on the public record, and that public record is largely created by traditional media. It’s only possible to unearth a 1983 Trent Lott speech if that speech has first been recorded.
The mass media have more deeply-rooted advantages arising from the simple fact that they are mass media. Despite the growth of ‘narrowcast’ media like blogs, it is clear that the vast majority of people want to see and read the same things their friends and workmates do, at least some of the time. The fact of a shared experience that can form a basis for discussions, a source of catchphrases and so on is at least as important as the actual content of the experience.
It is unlikely then, that weblogs will displace traditional newspapers any time soon. Nevertheless, the dream that anyone who wants to should be able to publish their own newspaper is closer to reality than at any time in history. The implications have yet to become fully apparent, but are sure to be profound.