Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The non-existent division between blogs and traditional media

Over the weekend, I happened to visit a post in the Inquisitr - normally I read the Inquisitr via RSS feeds - and I was asked to take a survey. The survey had little to do with the Inquisitr itself, but was instead designed to gather information on the readers of the Inquisitr.

One series of questions, however, bugged me when I took the survey, and it continues to bug me now.

The questions asked for my views on blogs versus traditional media.

The thing that bugged me about the question is its underlying assumption that these were two distinct entities. While this might have been the case when I started blogging seven years ago, it is clearly not the case today.

Take the publication that I was reading at the time, the Inquisitr. I assume that under the old perspective, I would be required to file the Inquisitr into the "blog" category. Yet I can tell no difference between the pieces in the Inquisitr and those in so-called traditional media - either the stories that the Inquisitr buys, or the stories that are written by Duncan Riley and others on the Inquisitr staff.

Now perhaps you're not familiar with the Inquisitr, but you're probably familiar with the Huffington Post. Although it's technically a "blog," it has emerged as a reputable source of information.

And even if you buy the old distinction that the Huffington Post is just a blog, then how do you categorize something such as Is it a blog, because it has "blogs" in its title? Or is it traditional media, because it is a Wall Street Journal publication? And if you argue that this is traditional media because it's owned by an old-line company, then how do you categorize My_____ (a/k/a MySpace)? Is "Tom" suddenly part of the old guard media because Rupert owns him?

As time passes, the distinction between blogs and traditional media is becoming more and more of an artificial distinction. Perhaps the distinction should be between corporate-owned media and media that is not corporate-owned - regardless of whether the corporate owner is News Corp or Nichenet Pty Ltd.
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