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The online nation: The Internet’s role in today’s media

Where the Internet is about availability of information, blogging is about making information creation available to anyone.

- George Siemens

Consider the current situation: Since the invention of the computer, more and more people have gained literacy and awareness. The Internet, after years of development, has become the easiest and most effective form of communication available to almost anyone, bridging distances of global proportions. As of June 30, 2008, 1.463 billion people use the Internet. Its reach has become so awe-inspiring that even those who don’t usually voice out their sentiments are now blogging about them 24/7.

The Evolution of Man In-the-Know
Back during the days of war, colonization and in our case, martial law, only members of the press cared about the sacred freedom of the press; others were either blissfully unaware or simply uninterested in the merits this simple principle afforded us. Now, more of the older, more traditional modes of communication and information dissemination are gradually being overtaken by the fast pace of modern technology. These new methods have with it advantages that improve their freedom of expression—from satellite televisions and voice over Internet protocols to web-based publishing. These simple tools have armed us not only with easier means to communicate, but also the sincere desire of being up-to-date with the latest trends, not to mention gaining awareness in issues directly affecting our personal lives.

Birth of the Online Nation: Blogging as a Way of Life
Writing is one of the longest-standing modes of relaying thoughts and opinions known to man. From the time we first learned to write in our diaries to the first moment we were tasked to type a book report in school using the typewriter, the same progress has been made through the Internet.

A Web log (blog) is a site usually maintained by a person that discusses a wide range of topics, anything from daily rants to description of events and political opinions.

After years of availability, blogging has become another household name and has, quite literally, become a way of life for many people. Businesses have accepted the importance of being available on the World Wide Web; websites like eBay and Amazon allow people to shop in the comforts of their own homes and allow people to advertise the many services and products they have to offer. Newspapers have broken the boundaries of print media by having websites of their own that update their content in real-time, acting as information gateways to billions of Internet users hungry for information.

Blogging has ideally transformed itself into the crossroads where all forms of media combine—TV footage immortalized by the videos on Youtube; your favorite radio tunes, on rewind, brought to you by lastfm; national and world news reported to you as it happens by CNN.com and Inquirer.net; even your favorite magazines, catalogued and shared through issuu.com. All these can be conveniently archived and shared by bloggers worldwide in their very own place in cyberspace.

Media and Responsible Blogging
In old-school information dissemination, thoughts on paper go through a long list of channels. Blogs and the Internet allow writers of all sorts to bypass all that and send messages directly to the public. With that in mind, there is a bigger tendency to also bypass copyright and the necessary role of mass media in feeding mankind with reliable news. With online content largely generated by the users themselves, an education in online information validation, proper citation, and proper online etiquette is needed to keep in balance the potentially negative effects this important technology has. The fact that almost everyone is online, more people ought to care about not just the perks of freedom of expression, but also the underlying responsibility that goes with it.

Blogging as a Defining Factor to What’s Important
Blogging widens the range of topics people are most concerned about. As bloggers, we define what issues ought to be buried (like maybe, how Bush is probably the worst American president ever, or the overly discussed Jen-Angelina feud), and what ought to be given proper attention (like the rise of Obamanism, or the declining prices of gasoline and other commodities).

Based on results, with the ever-present change the current media landscape is undergoing, blogging will forever be part of the important milestone linking old media to the current trend of technology as well as the developing attitude we have towards it.

Reference: World Internet Usage Statistics News and Population Stats updated June 30, 2008 http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog http://www.maxgladwell.com/2008/12/media-landscape-newspapers Websites named in the article were searched under Google.com.

(Winner, 2nd Place, Campus Journalism Awards 2009 under the Features Writing - English category)