Blogging And Social Media Impact

by Michey

This is a general discussion about Web 2.0 vs. Web 3.0, how our life has been changed along with Internet trends. I choose as main players: Blogs, Social Media.



I still remember that around 2001, Blogging was already an established technique, but its importance increased quicker then I expected.
The crucial point of evolution was when members of well known journalism agencies began researching blogs.
I was an observant from the distance, curious and open minded, but when blogging helped to create a political crisis that forced T. Lott to step down as a Majority leader, I was stun and I started to pay attention to Blogging phenomenon realizing the huge potential hiding behind it.

The blogs got credit as a medium of news, and some time leaded the way in bringing key information to public for the first time and forced main stream media to follow the blogs lead.

Blogs have gained increasing coverage for their powerful role in breaking, shaping, spinning, news stories on the Iran war. The role of blogs become increasingly main stream as political consultants, news services, and office candidates began using this platform as tools for out reach and opinion forming.

The Best Example I Know

blog roleDid you know that Blogs were among the driving forces behind the "Rathergate" scandal?

I'll explain, please keep reading.

In September 2004, the CBS News program "60 Minutes" runs a special on President Bush's service in the Texas National Guard during the Vietnam war. They displayed a memo allegedly written by the Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian.
As soon as the memo was on the TV screen, an entity called "the new Media" began an investigation that would lead to the retirement of longtime anchor Dan Rather.

The question which ignited the fire was so simple - It was the memo authentic! - CBS News assured the public it was, citing hand writing and document experts.

In only 24 hours, "the New Media" had show that such was not the case, and quickly demonstrated that:

  •  the proportional spacing of the memo and the super scripting of dates were nearly impossible to be created with the 1970's technology
  • the layout of the memo was unlike anything produces at the time
  • so, they showed that the memo was not created on a Texas National Guard type writers on 1970
  • the memo was instead produced on a modern computer using Microsoft Word on its default settings and faxed or copied repeatedly to make the impression of an old document

Ouch! They showed beyond a reasonable doubt that the memo was a fake!
The word of the fraud spread viral across the Internet, additional facts surfice as well questioning the use of CBS news' acquisition  and handling of the document.

Within a week, other major news organizations began reporting on the controversy, within two weeks, CBS itself reported that they had been misled by their source  about the origin of the memo.

The result was a shake up of the entire CBS news structure, 3 CBS news executives were fired, and the retirement of Dan Rather occurred.
This was significant and the final proof that the Old News Media is not alone anymore, and blogging power is rising, and is capable of verifying the validity of news in a record time.

Who was this "New Media"

New MediaYes, who was this "New Media"  that was knowledgeable enough to conduct a great research on a topic of super scripting of National Guard memo in such short time?

It was a Network of Independent Bloggers who:

  • posted their findings in real time
  • shared information, and
  • tested the findings

Their posts were followed closely by millions of readers, many of whom posted the findings on their own blogs.

The New Media was able to create an unstoppable viral effect of the news!

Tribute to Blog Popularity

BloggingOne more example.
During Hurricane Katrina Aug 2005, a few bloggers located in New Orleans were able to maintain power and an Internet connection and they disseminate information that was not covered by Main Stream Media.
Ups! This was another typical example of old Main Stream Media left behind by Blogging power.

When I realized this I chuckled to myself, as old Media disappointed me so many times, and they still do... 

Blog popularity was analyzed to the bones for a good reason and the conclusion of its popularity was found through:

  • citations
  • affiliation (Blogroll)
  • permalinks
  • ranking by Technorati  based on the amount of incoming links
  • ranking by Alexa based on the web hits of Alexa users tool bar

Note: By the way, do you notice that the first 3 bullets are specific features of the Wordpress?

In August 2006 Technocrati reported that the Blog of Xu Jinglei (part of Chinese Media Xinhua) received more than 50 millions page views and so that was the most popular Blog of 2006.

I don't know any SEO technique, or Google back door tricks which can give to a single site 50 millions page views. Do you? Let me know.

The classical definition of a Blog is simply a Journal or Newsletter that is frequently updated.

It is really more then that, it is a new media with an incredible power coming out from interaction, simplicity, and the Seth Godin's  3 Us rule: Useful - Unique - Up to date.

Social Media Platforms

Twitter, Google+, and more...

twitterWhy Twitter is so powerful? Joel Comm explains that:

  • The power is coming from Twitter's immediate feedback, the speed of response
  • Twitter is not just updating family and friends about your small life details, it is a two-way communication tool, you can:
    • ask questions
    • request help and
    • get the expert advice you need
  • it is not just a billboard for posting your advertisements, it is a way of holding a chat with people who matter in your niche

We have a couple of perfect example from Joel Comm's Book "Twitter Power, How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time" which proof his above theory.

I give you 2 of them:

  1. "In April 2008, James Buck, a journalism student at the University of California at Berkeley, was arrested with his interpreter while photographing an anti-government rally in Egypt. Sitting in the police can, he was able to use his mobile phone to send the one-word message 'arrested' to his followers on Twitter. They immediately alerted the US embassy and his collegs, who quickly obtain a lawyer for him. James continued to provide updates about his arrest via Twitter, and was released the following day, which he announced on Twitter with the word 'free'. 
    His interpreter was less lucky, Mohammed Maree was held for 90 days, beaten and abused, and was only released after a hunger strike".
  2.  "In June 2008, Pastor Carlos Whittaker, Service Programming Director at Buckhead Church in Atlanta, Georgia, found himself stuck at the airport in Dallas and was told he would have to wait 6 hours for the next flight. Tired and not too happy at the thought of spending a night on the airport floor, he sent a tweet about his predicament. Within just two minutes, he had received seven e-mails, three phone calls, and a huge numbers of tweets. Best of all, Trevor DeVage of charity group Remedy4ThisHeart turned up and gave Carlos a key to a room at a nearby Hyatt hotel".  

Note: Do you remember how unhappy we were when we found out about the 140 characters restriction on Twitter posts? As you  can see just 2 simple words: arrested,  free, solve a problem and probably the life of the journalist.


Did you know that, a researcher is already using the new platform, Google+, as new as it is, to gather information about the tragic shootings that devastated Norway last Friday?

So it will be a matter of days until he will connect the dots and have all the knowledge he realy need.

I don't know the purpose, but whatever he will do with the info, it will be real time and nothing will be left out.

 In summary:

  • The Blogs are part of Web 2.0,
  • Twitter is still Social Network part of Web 2.0 but at the border with Web 3.0 and
  • Google+ is already Web 3.0 as his aim is to be a platform that connecting everything in real time.

I hope that all the examples I give in the post speak by themselves, and it is clear how  the Internet evolution shapes our life now, change habits, solve problems with a remarkable speed. 
I choose to make my case using examples, as I consider them more powerful.

More Details on Popular Books.

Ver 2 of Twitter Power by Joel Comm
Twitter Power 2.0: How to Dominate Yo...
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Updated: 08/01/2011, Michey
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Your Personal Life Has Been Influence by Internet?

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Mira on 08/11/2012

Hi Michey, nice stories about Twitter and the journalism student, and blogging and Dan Rather. I enjoyed your article!

Michey on 08/03/2011

@petunia You are absolutely right, Internet influence a lot my life... and it has changed for the better.
So I am sad when I see bad apples, but I'll continue to follow my path with the Internet, yes, I take some personal preconditions for my privacy, but I strive to do my best to contribute doing a professional job.

@antjecobbett the open/transparency are good attributes, but I know from the beginning that will be a price we have to pay for them... so, you are right, it is like real life...

petunia on 08/03/2011

Indeed the internet has changed my life. I have met so many wonderful people - like you!

Michey on 07/28/2011

Sheila, like everything in life, in every action, in every great tool we use, there are good and bad attached to it.
But, we have to look at the statistical results to see where the balance is, and put us in the positive part, fight for it, do pioneering work, and never lose the hope for the better. This is the way we can contribute and be part of it!
For me Social Networking, did more good then harm, and I'll continue to work for the better.
Classic Old Media did more bad then good: twisting the truth, spinning, producing character assassinations, so I never love them, and I never will. Instead of reading an article of a bias reporter I do an Internet research to see the balance between good vs. bad and read more then just an article to make my mine.
Thanks for reading and be part of our honest open discussion here.

sheilamarie on 07/28/2011

Interesting discussion. I agree with the comment that we need to be responsible with this new power of communication. We also need to refrain from not having it just be a distraction. Ah, like so many other things in life.
Amazing stories, Michey, of how simple twitters worked for good. I was thinking of the woman poet (I can't remember which Muslim country) who was arrested and tortured for reading an anti-government poem at a protest rally. People used to just disappear like that. Now with everyone on high alert world wide, not so.
Can be used for good, but can destroy people, too, I'm afraid. I've seen people using internet chats as a way to put spin on a problem or on one person's simple blunder and the report on it goes viral within a certain community. What does that do to our ability to take risks and maybe even make mistakes?
Then there was the gang rape of the young high school aged woman who had been drinking at a party. Kids at the party felt few qualms about posting damaging pictures of her on facebook. Will she ever be at peace with her trauma?
I just mean that with the benefits of our new technological age, there are dangers as well. I think we've just upped the potential for both.

Michey on 07/26/2011

Thanks @boutiqueshops you summary is representing very well the effect of Internet on our lives. Just a couple of days we had 3 hot days (101F) so in the middle we got a 19 hours back out. It was miserable, but what I miss the most was my PC... is definitely part of my day-by-day life.

boutiqueshops on 07/26/2011

My personal life has been totally changed by the internet. I can learn anything about anything anytime, keep in touch with friends and family, earn a living and even find craft patterns and recipes. LOL LOVE it!

Michey on 07/26/2011

Antje, you are amazing "playing the guitar under a bridge" is funny but not for a UNIX educated person. I programed in Java some point in my long life, so I really respect UNIX people for the reasons you already know...
So, I am happy so far with the response I get for this post... I was very close not to write about this subject... now I am glad I did.
The big picture counts, the words have power, we must be involved and you guys just proof to me that we are a great community here.

mandeesears on 07/26/2011

Well said and I totally agree!

Michey on 07/26/2011

Good morning, I am late today, but I love the conversation we start here.
Joan and Mandee you are 100% right, the words have power, and the responsibilities must be in our mind when we write. In the example I choose (Rathergate scandal) it is clear that if we just talk... it is not enough... with the openness and accessibility of Internet it is not going to go away if we don't do a well documented, professional job.
Thanks for share your thoughts

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