But the internet’s barely a couple of decades old and the most venerable of the technologies we’re talking about here, blogging, has only a decade of publishing history behind it. People are still finding new ways of creating compelling sites with this stuff. A few years back, “authoritative” bloggers were telling us that anonymous or character blogs were a no-no. Now, from sex blogger Belle de Jour (blocked by the firewall, so don’t bother searching for it here, unless you fancy an uncomfortable chat with your line manager) to the media hunt for the author of the Fake Steve Jobs blog (recently exposed as Forbes journalist Daniel Lyons. Note: journalist.), they’re generating huge traffic and loads of interest.
Newspapers are centuries old, and people are still finding new things to do with them. Admittedly, these days it’s pretty much down to giving away free CDs, DVDs and wall charts, but that’s what declining sales does for you… How much more potential is there still in these new media?
We, as journalists, as professionals, have two choices: we can ignore these new means of of interacting with our readers, lose the ability to use our expertise to shape a new media world and risk finding ourselves made irrelevant, or we can embrace them, make sure that we’re on the leading edge of a new era of publishing, and be the ones who start defining the role of the professional within them.
Me? I’m doing the latter, because I’d like to believe that the role of the professional, skilled journalist is important, even in the age of mass collaboration and, frankly, I’d still like there to be a professional publishing industry from me to retire from in another 35 years’ time. So, I’ve made my choice and did the day I took this job. I hope you’ll join me in embracing the possibilities – and the experimentation – that these technologies bring.
If you need me, I’ll be plotting the future of the publishing industry in a sun-addled daydream outside QH.