FAQ: Blogging inspirations, tools and trends

As part of the ongoing series of questions answered in public, here are another bunch:

1) What inspired you to become a blogger? Have you ever found it difficult to keep up regular posts/ stay dedicated to the same topic area?

As someone teaching online journalism, I felt I should be exploring the medium myself. What inspired me to continue, however, was the community I found along the way.

Yes, I sometimes find it difficult to post, but the great thing about blogging is that you have no deadlines to hit or boss to please, so if I can’t post for a while, I don’t – but as long as I have something to share, I can.

Sometimes I’ve started blogs and then stopped after a while. Again, this is just part of the process. I learn along the way. There’s an audit summing up some of that here.

2) Do you believe blogs are crucial for a journalist trying to establish him/her self in the online world?

Yes. You need a space to collect and share your knowledge, build your reputation, act as a space for communication, and force you to stick to something.

3) As a journalist, which do you find more useful: Twitter, Facebook or blogs. Why?

That’s like asking which is more useful: a hammer, a screwdriver, or a nail. Each is useful for different purposes.

4) Which do you believe allowed you to best connect with your audience in terms of interactivity and views? (Facebook, Twitter or Blogs).

That’s a similar question with a similar answer. It depends on the type of interactivity: blogs are good for in-depth comments and linking; Twitter is faster and more mobile but lacks the opportunity for depth (although it’s still possible). Facebook plugs in better to more people’s lives, but is more ephemeral (hard to archive or link to) and less public.

5) Were there any significant changes in the blogging world that you’ve noticed from when you started blogging to now?

Blogging has changed frequently. Some of the activity that used to take place on blogs, like linkblogging, now tends to happen on Twitter or Facebook. The style of blogging has changed as more journalists started blogging, and celebs, and so on. Every new group that adopted it has introduced new styles, etc.

6) There are two arguments related to blogs: the first is that many believe blogs are dying because of new social medias replacing it (going with the new trend). The second argument is that rather then dying, it is transforming. For example, the fact that most bloggers link their Facebook/ Twitter/ blogs and Youtube accounts together to create a more wide array doesn’t mean that blogs are dying but rather that it is taking on another form.

Which argument do you think is more reasonable and why?

‘Blogging’ has expanded beyond ‘the blog’. Any social network launched after blogs included a blogging facility, whether that was called ‘updates’ or whatever. Twitter is ‘microblogging’. YouTube is often used for videoblogging, and so on.

But blogs aren’t ‘dying’ – they’re just being added to by other media. And we’re also getting new types of blog, like Posterous, Tumblr, etc. To use the tool analogy again, it’s like saying that hammers are dying because of the invention of mallets.

7) What is your view on Twitter’s character limit and Facebook (as a mini-blog) being used by professional journalists looking for information on a story? Do you believe the sacrifice in information for speed and availability is worth it?

Again, different tools work better for different jobs. Sometimes you need speed and availability, sometimes depth and focus.

8) Do you believe traditional blogs (that are long-form) are able to compete with short blogs/ Twitter posts online, where readers prefer bite-size information and quick access? What do you believe are the pros and cons of each type.

Readers ‘prefer’ different things at different times. So blogs compete when they meet those preferences, and not when they don’t. And they work together with Twitter.

Just as people prefer radio at some times (driving, painting, cooking) and TV at others (eating, relaxing), newspapers other still (travelling, relaxing), we need to use the right platforms at the right times for the right content.

9) Because of Twitter and Blogs, citizen journalism is on the rise. Do you see this as good or bad thing?

Anything that gives more people a voice is a good thing. I’m amazed at any journalist who doesn’t want to hear more voices – if they complain there are too many then they are effectively saying that they would prefer that someone else filter information for them, rather than doing the job they themselves are supposed to be paid for.

It also forces journalists to raise our game. If there’s more competition, if there are more versions of events, if there’s more information then we have to work harder to communicate clearly and compellingly; to verify what actually happened; and to combine that information.

10) What do you think is the future of online journalist? Do you believe it will become more integrated with social media or will it follow a different path and create a more separate identity?

Predicting the future is always going to be difficult because you cannot anticipate new developments. But those aside, I think economic demands will spur more collaborative journalism, which will mean more use of social media. Imagine asking someone 80 years ago if they thought the future of journalism would see it ‘more integrated with the telephone’. Communications technologies are going to be used by media industries: it’s a natural fit.

1 thought on “FAQ: Blogging inspirations, tools and trends

  1. Pingback: Evaluation of Blogger | Tools for 21C Media

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