Friday, May 18, 2007

Belshaw's Favourite Blogs - Introduction

Note to readers: you will find a list of posts in this series at the end of this post.

This post is all out of kilter in that I did my first favourite, View Italy, before writing this post. Still, a few thoughts on my reasons for starting yet another new series.

There are now some 71 million blogs out there.

We all blog for different reasons. Most of us do not aspire to be A list bloggers. We just want to share things. Yet if you are not on the top list, the world does not beat a path to your door. So many good things get lost in the crowded blogosphere. I want to remedy this in a very small way by pointing to my own preferences.

I read many blogs - over forty at the last count - and for many reasons. Some give me food for the soul. Others intellectual stimulation, professional and personal. Here I use blogs to keep in touch in a professional sense, but also sometimes just to satisfy my curiosity.

Some blogs are just friends, familiar things that I like and am used too.

There have been a number of local radio programs recently talking about the role and influence of blogs and, more broadly, of the internet itself. With a Federal election looming in Australia, many of these discussions have focused on the impact of blogs on the political process.

I think that most of this discussion has missed the true influence of blogs and blogging on that process.

Yes, the fact that media outlets and political parties have established blogs or pseudo blogs is interesting and shows that those involved think that blogs are an important tool, but it says nothing about the impact of those blogs. Very little in many cases.

To me, the true influence of blogs and blogging lies in the combination of two things.

The first is the aggregate number of observers. Each has limited time and a partial view. But the total effect is substantial if hard to measure, rather like a rolling Delphi process. The second is the speed of transmission, the way in which things are picked up and spread.

Quite simply, the blogosphere will pick up and discuss things far faster than the conventional media or the indeed the political machines. This also holds true in professional areas where blogs have become a major source of information on professional topics.

So while most of us individual bloggers have little influence, bloggers as a collective group do have an impact.

The blogs that I like reflect my varied interests and span many different areas. Not all will be of general interest, but I hope that each will be of interest to some.

Posts in this series