If you have lived or passed through New York, you might have heard radio blaring, “give us ten minutes, and we will give you the world.” (Or something like that!) That line pretty much sums up the whole blogging phenomenon. What began as short (or not) irreverent personal musings over a decade ago, has now become a new kind of news medium, one that fits nicely the post-Internet, 4-lattes-a-day fueled, sleep deprived, time-compressed modern lives.
Our whole lives are about doing more in less time, trying to cram everything into 24 hours, in a day that is filled with constant interruptions. Instant messages, emails, and the constant chirping of cell phones have surely and slowly squeezed our attention spans. We have responded this to customizing the digital world according to how lifestyles.
We have TiVo to personalize our television, watching only what we want. We plug in our iPods, using playlists, instead of listening to the radio waiting for our favorite tune. Like TiVo and iPod, the web allows us to customize what we want to read. Blogs offer short bursts of information in an easy to digest format that fits nicely with this socio-culture change happening around us.
Blogs, also have the ability to focus on niche topics, allow almost anyone to publish, and then have it distributed over high-speed Internet connections instantly is what can be summed up in two words: “Immediate Media.”
This immediate media is information simply adapting to the new methods of distribution. At the turn of the last century, telegraph was used to spread the news. Telephone technologies gave newspapers a new sense of urgency and made distant events a weekly, and for some a daily affair. Radio broadcasts made news more real-time, making it part of our daily life. TV brought news into the living room, made it more personal. Cable and the birth of CNN made news a 24/7 phenomenon.
The Internet in its early version upped the tempo, and with the rise of high speed, always on connections, information is now an unending stream. If you follow that thread, then with can easily see that with each transformation, technology compressed the news cycle a little, and made distribution a bit more efficient. The more we connect, the more we want to know but in less time. Blogs are a reflection of our time-deprived times.
If you dig deeper, the growth of blogs can be mirrored in the growth of broadband adoption. Faster connections make checking out a blog, say TMZ, five times a day is much easier compared to ten years ago when you had to dial-up to get your information fix.
Broadband has also enabled non-text tools – video and photos – to become part of this immediate media movement. We have videos of news events being uploaded to YouTube, almost in real time. Photographs of news events find their way from our mobile phones to Flickr and on to the web pages.
Twitter and Pownce are fast transforming into news-alert services, where short bursts of information say it all. A link and a few words are all it takes to describe what could mean news to an audience of one (or a million). Here is to next ten years!