Tony is doing a presentation on blogging for a class, and his discussion points got me thinking.
The state of blogging has changed from what it used to be--most noticibly over the past 6-9 months. Just a year ago, blogging seemed to be a way for people--mainly geeks--to blab to a (potentially empty) audience. I remember the first few blogs that I read on a regular basis were mostly technical and discussed niches (i.e. mysql, etc.) or techie news and reviews. I still read most of those, but looking through my feed list, the distribution of technical to non technical blogs is closer to 65/35 instead of 95/5. It's quite obvious that the tools available make it easy for Joe Non-technical User to post his drivel. Hosted services such as blogger, livejournal, etc. have taken it to the next step in that everything is managed for the user.
But, with everyone and their sister blogging, what does that mean for the medium? It means that you can hear stories about anything from being a new teacher to fighting stage IV brain cancer, get information about natural disasters (hurricane Katrina, the pacific tsunami) to Sony's latest missteps. It means that information spreads faster than wildfire.
Blogs have definately changed how people get their information to the point that if you want the most current information on a big news story, do you still go to CNN? Fox News? Google News even? No. You probably go visit a blog from somone that is directly effected, or is leading the fight against the man. In fact there are many mass media journalists that have blogs of there own, or have dropped their mass media affiliation and gone straight to blogging. This allows them to be more agile and get pertinent information out to the masses before the article even hits the presses--let alone hits the newsstands.
It is important to note that blogging does not necessarily equal RSS feeds, although the two definately go hand in hand. Personally I have feeds that are news sources from traditional entities along with feeds that are more personal (blogs).
I'd be interested in hearing about how blogging has changed the way you gather and assimilate information.