Riddle me this: Over the past few years, what has been surprisingly successful at creating new jobs, raising awareness and funds for worthy causes, and supporting freedom of expression (hint; the White House has nothing to do with it)? One could argue the answer is blogging. And by ‘one’, I mean ‘me’. And by ‘could’, I mean ‘going to’.
The blogging revolution is a powerful social media phenomenon unlike any that the world has experienced before. In no more than a few minutes, a digital post can reach hundreds of thousands of eyes, attain all kinds of feedback, and create hundreds of connections. By adding tags to blog posts we can expand our audience to reach strangers, and effectively have our own, “humble” (LOL) opinions reach way more people than they ever could via a Facebook status typically only seen by our online friend circles (which, you could have guessed in my case, isn’t large). Blogging really has seen exponential growth over the past two decades, and the proof is in the numbers. According to Carl Sessions Stepp, American Journal Review’s senior editor, “Before 1997, the word blog, now defined as a regularly updated online journal, didn’t exist. By 1999 there were a few hundred blogs. Today, the search site technorati.com tracks 23.5 million of them.”
Original image courtesy of Tales from the Casbah via blogspot.com, modifications by author.
Blogs are an influential vehicle, which can be used for many different purposes, from makeup gurus sharing their favorite beauty tips to activists trying to gain support for a cause, to teenagers ranting about the horrible suppression that is white suburban life (I wanted the BLACK 64GB iPhone 5, NOT the white one, why didn’t you just abort me, MOM?!). It seems everyone is blogging nowadays, and as a member of a very impatient and self-important generation, I understand the appeal; It’s nice to have a service which allows you the unadulterated self-expression of your ideas at the quick and simple push of a button, and its even nicer to receive peer approval for it. Whether it’s your grandma or your ten-year-old cousin, they all have something to say had have flocked to sites like WordPress, Blogspot, YouTube (for vlogging), and Twitter (for the concise) to do so.
And as per usual, in any activity that the masses partake in, some people will be better at it than others (I was always picked last in dodge ball, so I’m allowed to say that). These big league bloggers can acquire huge followings, therefore making their opinions valuable. So valuable, in fact, that professional bloggers can turn revenue from their opinions, either in the form of a paycheck from the host site or free products from sponsoring companies looking to be promoted in their posts or videos. In essence, not only has the blogging revolution given those who want to share their opinions a platform to speak from, the actual Internet is paying them to do so (that’s how it works, right?) Considering the fact that most presidents can’t seem to create new jobs, I’d say that’s pretty awesome.
The fact that actual corporations will invest capital into a single persons opinion just proves how influential and powerful a bloggers voice can be. And, considering the fact that literally ANYONE can start a blog that has Internet access, it opens up the doorway for those previously without a voice to speak. Nobody loves getting angry over injustice like a person behind a computer. ‘Slacktivists’ (lazy activists) like these are amazing at getting fired up and sharing posts with friends on Facebook (Kony 2012, anybody?). Even if they aren’t physically helping the cause, they are at least spreading the word, possibly to someone who may be able to through donations or service. There is serious potential in blogs to change the world, especially when concerning those who often go unheard.
Whether you blog to vent, to express yourself, to make connections, to make money, or for a cause, I believe that blogging is for everyone who has something to say and wants that something to be heard. Keep on talking to that virtual wall. Eventually someone is bound to listen (if not, you can always get a cat).