Monday, October 04, 2004

Used wisely, a weblog is a good tool

The thing about weblogs are that they're comprised primarily of a writer's own opinion. Writers have the ability to say whatever they would like. Disagreement with the war can be expressed in detail in weblogs. Weblogs give people the opportunity to praise President Bush if they feel necessary. A writer's weblog gives them the opportunity to have his/her voice heard. The advantage weblogs have over other forms of journals is that they are immediately available to millions of people. People are able to listen to random thoughts and ideas, perhaps aiding them in shaping their own opinion on a particular topic. Weblogs differ from chat rooms because chat rooms are exclusive and are back and forth talking. Weblogs give people the opportunity to express their thoughts in journal entries, thus being more thought out and planned. Chat rooms do not give people this opportunity.

If you go a step further and want a solid difference between weblogs and the tradition form of journalism, it's weblogs are not held back from anything. A weblogger's self expression is limitless. For example journalism can only report the immediate facts to the audience. They are not allowed to offer insight or opinions, only what happened, when, where, and so on. Occasional commentary by reporters is not unheard of but they cannot voice their disgust for President Bush because it would upset a large majority of the nation and inevitably lose many viewers. Weblogs are allowed to comment on any subject area without facing any repercussions. A defining difference setting weblogs apart from any other rhetorical genre.

Weblogs also suffer from a lack of editors. Some weblogs are edited and have blurred one of the key dividing points between blogging and traditional journalism. While some weblogs have become edited the large majority remain unedited. Anyone can write a weblog and since they are mostly journal entries and links to other sources no editors are needed. The weblogger acts as his/her own editor. A weblogger merely writes what he/she wants to and then posts it. There is no need for a person other than the author to edit the weblog before it can be posted. This is completely different from newspapers and magazines. Editors must do extensive work to ensure the newspaper has no mistakes or misprints. A lot rides on the abilities of editors because one misquote could cost a lot of money. Weblogging on the other hand has no boundaries. The absence of editors is a defining aspect of weblogs and by using editors weblogs push more towards the journalism genre. The true webloggers keep the genres separate.

Webloggers search through the web and pick out certain information and then interpret it for their readers. Bloggers tend to specialize in putting deft touches on pre-existing information rather than in generating completely new findings; there's no such thing as a blogging investigative report or feature story. The weblogger posts only the news reports he/she finds interesting or important. This enables people to find certain webloggers they share interests with and check that weblog daily to find interesting news. There is no need to surf through the Internet to find it because it has already been done. Search engines are similar to this but the person still has to dig through a lot of unwanted material, as everyone knows who has ever tried a web search. Weblogs take that hassle away, a very helpful and individual side to this new rhetorical genre.

People argue that because most weblogs are closely linked with journalism that weblogs are rather a complement to journalism instead of their own genre. Editing weblogs are what makes them classified as journalism . If this is true then where do the other weblogs fall under? Undoubtedly the answer is a separate category unto its own. The truth is that there are more unedited weblogs than there are edited weblogs. Weblogs such as do provide a complement to the news, but the average joe who creates a weblog has created a new rhetorical genre. After examining all of the different characteristics of weblogs it is evident that indeed this relatively new form of rhetoric can and should be classified in a genre all its own.


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