As newspapers and magazines move into an exclusively online world, blogs are becoming an easy way to reach large audiences. Blogs provide a refreshing dose of uncensored thoughts, as opposed to the highly edited content of various news sources. Whether they deal with politics, fashion, or travel, blogs offer organically honest opinions on a wide array of topics.
Blogs have come a long way. Most of us can remember the basic interface of our ancient Livejournal and Xanga pages; blogs can now do so much more. Blogs are versatile—they can focus on gaining readership in a specific audience niche. Bloggers have different intentions, but they all have one thing in common: a desire to be read. Similarly, readers are turning to the opinions of their blogging peers, steering away from the traditional reactionary media model of reporting.
There are many bloggers who have gained massive attention and fame as a result of their innovative and entertaining blogging. Fourteen-year-old Tavi Gevinson is a well-known figure in the fashion world thanks to her blog, “Style Rookie”. Gevinson’s blog gained national attention for the first time about two years ago, when a New York Times staff writer decided to write a profile on the unique and fashion-crazed girl from Chicago. Once Gevinson made the news, her blog’s readership skyrocketed. With the constant addition of new blogs to the blogosphere scene, a blog’s impact may rely on whether it gets picked up by a news source. Luckily, news outlets themselves have started blogging as a way to quickly inform their readerships on up-to-date news. It is not so much that blogs are replacing official news websites; rather, the two are learning to complement each other, as they move into a necessarily symbiotic relationship.
As the current generation of recent college graduates (and casual bloggers) move on to the real world, blogs are becoming increasingly acceptable as an informative source. An appealing aspect of blogging is the blog’s ability to reach niche-like markets of people who are looking for information on very specific topics. Take Silvana Roiter, for example. Roiter is a Tufts alumnae and a habitual blogger. Through her blog about strategic job-hopping and serial entrepreneurship, Roiter hopes to “inspire and empower readers around the world to create, follow and succeed in their own terms.” Today, her blog has between 4,000 and 6,000 readers. Roiter takes her job as a blogger very seriously: “It’s great to feel a commitment,” she said. “I have a silent contract with my readers. We made a pact. I write—you read.”
Similarly, Georgetown graduate Ruben Rais takes on the role of informing a young generation of Jews worldwide by writing the left-wing political blog “ReJewvenate.” As Rais spends a year in Israel gaining a closer look at the Arab-Israeli conflict, he hopes that his blog will make an impact. “The goal is obviously to try and reach a larger audience,” says Rais.
For other students at Tufts, blogging is usually a lot less serious and a lot more fun. Kate Nye and Axel Tonconogy have both decided to start blogging while they are abroad for two semesters. Both travel blogs have a slow and airy feel to them, allowing friends and family to catch glimpses into the life each blogger is leading abroad.
Nye’s blog “Mail Box” was created as a means for mass-communication, a “mechanism for stylized mass-emails to my family and family friends interested in hearing updates about my time abroad in France.” For Axel Tonconogy, who is currently abroad in London, the idea of creating a blog sprouts from his passion for writing. In his blog “Censor this Thought,” Tonconogy exposes sentiments about the world around him.
For people out there looking to start their own blog, Tufts offers a convenient option: an integrated, online blog collection called “Tufts Roundtable Commons”, where Tufts affiliates have an opportunity to expose their blogs. The website resembles a news site, yet it consists entirely of different Tufts blogs arranged into grouped topics. According to co-founder and current president of the website, Shabazz Stuart, the intention of the website is to “make the process of sharing ideas easier through blogging.” Although the website currently encapsulates only about 100 bloggers, Stuart hopes to see this number increase over time, stressing that the website is “a great way to see the vibrancy of the campus.”
Our generation of smart phones and wireless Internet makes blogging so easy and simple that blogs can literally be updated within seconds. As we—those who can’t really remember what the world without Internet was like—grow older and move into the real world, blogs will continue to grow, both in popularity and in relevance. It is hard to say whether or not blogs will become a more standardized form of mass communication and will replace official news sources more completely. Probably not, but as the lines between blogs and news are blurred, it becomes increasingly clear that blogs are here to stay.