The Emerging Transformative Power of the Blog

It is difficult to imagine the world without blogs. This popular type of communications technology has become quite a cultural and political force. Although I am a fairly new blogger, from my observations thus far I sense that blogging is evidence of a definite shift from an age of carefully controlled information provided by sanctioned authorities, to an unprecedented opportunity for individual expression on a worldwide scale -- an expression that can be transforming, on both individual and global levels. It is possible now to engage with minds all around the world and to build active communities of discussion centered around an interest, question, or concern.  

 I strongly believe in the power of blogs to transform both readers and writers from “passive audience” to “participatory public” and from “docile consumer” to “active creator.” Each kind of weblog can empower individuals on many levels. The blogger, just by writing whatever is on his/her mind, will be confronted with their own thoughts, values, and opinions. By blogging every day, one can become a more confident writer. A community of two, dozens, or even hundreds of people may spring up around the public record of the blogger’s thoughts. As we enunciate our opinions daily, this new awareness of our inner life may develop into a trust in our own perspective and confidence in a new view of the world. By expressing our thoughts publicly, we will be able to more fully articulate our opinions to ourselves and others. Ideally, we will become less reflexive and more reflective, and achieve the confidence that our own opinions, thoughts, and ideas are worthy of serious consideration.
 
Anything can be discussed in a blog and I am fascinated by blogging’s potential as a tool for capturing interesting phases of history. For example, scientific and political developments and controversies reflected in blog discussions could be a useful way of evaluating the impact of events on society and to provide a snapshot in time of the public pulse. We may find that blogs can transform our thinking about how we archive history as they may be a different and a more sensitive or “feeling”-based way of capturing and preserving information about our lives -- and that makes me wonder about what might be an important future blog design challenge: How do we design blogs that will archive and present 20 years or more worth of content of this journey we call life?
 
Indeed through blogging people can begin a journey of self discovery and intellectual self reliance. In our world today we are constantly being bombarded with information and media and unless we create spaces and time in which to reflect, we run the risk of being left with only our reactions. As advertisements creep onto websites and continue to interrupt television programming, we need to continuously cultivate forms of self expression to counteract our defensive numbness and remember what it is to be human. Of course blogs are not a solution for the effects of a media-saturated culture, but I believe that they can be one positive antidote.