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The Age of the Blog

Michael Bhaskar at has written an interesting two-part rumination on the place of blogs in the publisher milieu. In it, he neatly slices publishers away from the technological aspect of blogs — wisely dismissing publishers as possible creators of scalable blogging software — and focuses on the most important aspects of what blogs represent to readers and therefore publishers:

Blogging is the signature written form of our age, indeed is arguably the most widespread and popular form of published words that has ever existed. Bracketing the arguments about noise to signal ratios, self indulgence and wild proliferation blogging is now a fact of the written word as much as letters, novels, newspapers and emails.

I can recall in the early 1990s a penchant in the ether for complaining that people weren’t writing as much as in prior generations — letters, diaries, notes, remembrances. Now, thanks to blogging and email and texting, we live in a vibrant written society, but with speed and reach like nothing before. Not everyone is a great writer (and not all Great Writers are as great as we’re led to believe), but the written word has re-emerged in a big way in our culture.

Blogs have become news sources (I learned of Tony Snow‘s recent and sad death via a blog, not through a network news show), political forces, and information resources. You are reading one now.

Blogs come in different flavors. In Part 1 of his “Bloglishing” posts, Bhaskar posits three layers to blogs: the technological, the blog brand, and the publisher brand. A blog usually acquires the first two easily. More and more are acquiring the brand of a known publication or publisher, legitimizing the form and bringing it mainstream.

When I first heard of blogs, I was skeptical. Now, I’ve transitioned to an active blogger with a growing audience. The software is actually quite amazing to me — from the integration of technologies to the data transparency to the ease of use. I wish more enterprise software worked this well.

Blogging software is actually Web-native content management software. With a little effort, it can extend a publisher’s role and function seamlessly online.

How will blogs change publishing? How does accessible publishing technology change power relationships overall?

Any good jobs at your local scriptorium? Therein lies a clue.

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About Kent Anderson

I am the Founder of Caldera Publishing Solutions, a consultancy specializing in informed growth and smart strategy for academic, scientific, and scholarly publishers. I have worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of the STRIATUS/JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are my own.


5 thoughts on “The Age of the Blog

  1. Long live the blog, it certainly helps me to communicate my ideas to the world and get new ones from people all over the planet

    Posted by Ducker | Jul 17, 2008, 2:19 pm
  2. very interesting to see, thanks

    Posted by deanjbaker | Jul 17, 2008, 4:28 pm
  3. Blogging shifts power relationships big-time! That’s why the corporate/government powers that be are trying like crazy to come up with internet laws and “terrorist” classifications. That’s why they want to get rid of net neutrality and that’s why they just passed the FISA bill.

    Speech hasn’t been this free in a long time!

    Posted by Daniel | Jul 17, 2008, 5:31 pm
  4. When I a year ago transformed my then static webpages into a blog I never thought I would be posting as often as I do now. Blogging allows me to publish my ideas long before they reach the world of academic journals. Is this a bad or a good thing? Does it lessen the value of my research if it has already been “published”? I don’t know, but I think not.

    Posted by Jan | Jul 20, 2008, 11:42 am


  1. Pingback: Blogs — The Signature Form of Our Age « SSP Top Management Roundtable - Jul 17, 2008

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The mission of the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) is "[t]o advance scholarly publishing and communication, and the professional development of its members through education, collaboration, and networking." SSP established The Scholarly Kitchen blog in February 2008 to keep SSP members and interested parties aware of new developments in publishing.
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