As a blogger myself, I stand as a testimony to the low barrier to entry posed by the blogosphere: Just create an account and the next thing I know, I am posting pictures, videos and giving my 2-cents worth of comments on politics, school systems, theology, philosophy, best restaurants etc. But who am I to have the authority to do that? I am just an undergraduate student. Yet, I believe almost every blogger can identify with me. In the open atmosphere of blogging, everyone and anyone can say whatever they want. However, this is a double-edged sword. The good is, more information will be provided through accessible means. And the bad is, how do we validate the information?
The answer perhaps lies in the blogosphere’s community. Anyone can comment on the blogger’s content, and anyone can comment on each other’s comments too. This creates a form of censorship in itself. This will then give the government no place to step in to monitor and control the Internet. This is great news for journalists! I can say whatever I want. But maybe just in the USA for now?
Growing up in Singapore where we practice racial tolerance and any offensive remarks against the other races are taboo, I have subconsciously self-censor what I am writing on my blog at times. This stems from an incident where a student was charged in court for his statements against the muslim population on his blog in Singapore. When I become an online journalist, I am sure to be real careful with what I say. It is like walking on thin ice.
But this creates another problem. What if in the future, the journalists no longer fear lawsuits of slander filed against them, but instead the fiery lines of threads that disagree with their comments and works on their blogs? The board of censors may shift to the virtual world. This adds on an immediate stress to the online journalist. Once his work goes up on the net, he is subjected to criticism the next second. Unlike in the past, he can stall his time for 24 hours before the next angry man who reads the newspaper over breakfast calls and screams at him.
Hence, after reading the first chapter, I have two pondering questions:
1) How are journalists going to react to the blogosphere as the new watchdog?
2) With low barrier to entry, anyone can come up with blogs and share information, hence, how do online journalists jostle for attention from the readers? How do we get discovered and remain interesting to readers before they click on the next blog link? What kind of marketing skills must we employ?