Over this past week, I read two articles on the effect of blogging in the United States on society, media and political campaigns. Blogs have evolved a great deal over the years with their roots being a simplified version of Google, the blog has become something far more intriguing. Blogs now can help promote a political party, serve as a diary, inform, or even sell a product. The number of bloggers is astounding, and the numbers continue to rise each year. According to Royal Pingdom (another blog) several million blogs were posted as of June 2010.
Courtesy of Royal Pingdom.com
- 152 million – The number of blogs on the Internet (as tracked by BlogPulse).
- 25 billion – Number of sent tweets on Twitter in 2010
- 100 million – New accounts added on Twitter in 2010
- 175 million – People on Twitter as of September 2010
- 7.7 million – People following @ladygaga (Lady Gaga, Twitter’s most followed user).
- 600 million – People on Facebook at the end of 2010.
- 250 million – New people on Facebook in 2010.
- 30 billion – Pieces of content (links, notes, photos, etc.) shared on Facebook per month.
- 70% – Share of Facebook’s user base located outside the United States.
- 20 million – The number of Facebook apps installed each day.
The way in which Americans and the world are getting their news and forms of media is rapidly changing. Blogs appeal to such a vast audience whether they are interactive, allowing the readers to leave comments, or if the audience is only addressed their popularity is on the rise. Many people find the break from the long winded “newspeak” refreshing and easier to read.
Reading the authors opinion and different format alone are not the only reasons blogs have gained in popularity. Blogs also allow Americans (and other countries as well) to find an unbiased opinion of many political candidates. During Obama’s campaign his ability to be tech savvy helped him to appeal to the younger generation. His smear campaign against McCain was one that proved to be quite controversial to many bloggers. Obama used his technical advantage against McCain who was in fact injured and unable to type to steer some of his voters to his party. Bloggers disagreed with the underhanded tactics Obama used, and blogs of protest were posted Internet wide.
Good, bad, or ugly the fact that generations are blogging about political campaigns, in my opinion is positive. Whatever form of media that can reach a generation that seems somewhat disenchanted and politically unmotivated is a plus.
Another example of how blogging has not only effected political change, but has effected society would be “Rathergate.” The scandal concerning Dan Rather and erroneous information regarding President Bush’s National Guard service was a wildfire in the media. What makes this story fascinating is that it was a blog that started the controversy surrounding the validity of the documents presented by 60 minutes.
It is more than just a little impressive to know that a person who states an opinion on a web log can change the outcome of so much. Whether the blog is keeping major news corporations in check, following a politician, or just giving opinions it’s nice to know that the opinions of Americans are still weighing in and being heard. Could this be true democracy?