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Blogs Becoming Increasingly Popular and Blending with Other Media

Posted Sep 27 2010 12:00am

It's been about three years since I posted my last note about blogs and blogging. I view myself as a professional blogger (see: Professional Blogs as Publication Vehicles for Physicians in Academic Clinical Tracks ; Professional Blogs as Meta Information Resources ). By this I mean someone trained in a particular industry or discipline, pathology and the clinical labs in my case, who then focuses on news and events in that industry, A recent article raised some interesting points about blogs and I provide an excerpt from it below (see: Blogging is Alive and Well, Says Report ):

While blogging was still a major topic of discussion just a few years ago, things have been rather quiet around it in recent times. Even in the so-called blogosphere, we don't talk a lot about the actual activity of blogging anymore these days. [H]owever, blogging is still alive and well. Today, half of all Internet users read blogs and while blogging itself remains somewhat of a niche activity, about 12% of U.S. Internet users update a blog at least once per month....60% of U.S. Internet users will be reading blogs by 2014....[T]his upward trend will likely continue, but, [according to an expert], over time, blogs will continue to become indistinguishable from other media channels. Indeed, we have to wonder how many blog readers aren't even aware that they are reading blogs. Since the early days of blogging, the word "blog" has meant different things to different people. After all, it can refer to both a personal diary and a serious media publication in reverse chronological order. One actually has to wonder whether the 50% of today's Internet users who say they don't read blogs simply aren't aware of the fact that they are reading them.

Below are two tables copied from this article demonstrating the growth of blogging:


There is no question in my mind that the vast majority of people on the web read blogs but are not necessarily aware of this fact. I am sure that the percentage of them far exceeds the 50% estimated above. To restate the obvious, blogging is becoming "indistinguishable from other media channels." In the case of pathology and the clinical labs, a prime example of one of the most important media channels is CAP Today . It's written by professional journalists and published in electronic and hardcopy form by one of our major professional societies. The September issue can be viewed in digital format . Although this blog has no formal connection to CAP Today, I have always written it as though it were a column in the publication designed to comment on industry news for lab professionals.

The key question in my mind about the future of blogs and blogging is now the following: if the term blog is losing its meaning and many people don't even know that they are reading a blog on-line, has the term now become devoid of meaning? If so, how will we refer to today's blogs in the future? Perhaps we need some new acronym that captures the idea of web-based news and commentary. We also need new ways to access all breaking news in the lab industry. One of my favorite apps on the iPad is the Flipboard, that allows you to select publications like The Economist, Wired, or Twitter and browse their stories like reading a magazine. In the latter case, you are only shown the Tweets posted by people you are following and thus choose the content you are viewing. We need to develop a "clinical lab and pathology e-magazine" for Flipboard that provides an overview of breaking news in the industry.

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