Why Blogs Matter

I admit it, I’m spoiled. I’ve been reading news feeds in one form or another for more than 10 years now. Starting with a customized My Yahoo! Page and moving on to news reader platforms like Bloglines and Google Reader, I’ve been able to follow my choice of authors writing about an eclectic assortment of topics that I find interesting.

Many of the big news organizations have created gorgeous news and magazine apps, but I find that often there’s very little content in them I want to read. I’m not interested in the latest misadventures of some spoiled celebrity nor am I a big sports fan. The things I do want to keep up on are often things the media ignores. As a result I have turned to blogs for a lot of my news. Through blogs, I get war news from the Soldiers who are fighting it, how-to instructions from the developers who created the app and research tips from librarians and archivists. I also get local news that even my local paper doesn’t print. Few of the people I follow would be considered “objective” reporters. Instead, they have a passion for their area of interest and are great advocates as a result.

Until the iPad came along, my biggest concern was the ability to “process” a large number of news items quickly to find and read the interesting articles. Now I combine Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader with apps like Flipboard and Early Edition to create a delightful reading experience that’s always ready for me once my day allows me to relax and enjoy some pleasure reading.

What I get out of all this is an informative and interesting reading experience customized just for me. Why? Because of a simple and inexpensive online writing platform called a blog.

Blogs are so easy to use that anyone can be up and running in a matter of minutes. There’s little to learn so writers can focus on their story and not how to build it. Yes, learning a few blog basics will improve the look and feel of an article, but even those lessons are quickly learned. As a result, the story tellers can tell their stories, the knowledge experts can share their expertise and the newsmakers can keep us updated in real time.

The next best thing about blogs is their construction. Blogs are designed to travel. Travel? Blog platforms were built with syndication – as in RSS – in mind. This means that readers can subscribe to your blog using their reading platform of choice and each new article you publish is automatically delivered to that reader. Thanks to systems like Google Reader, you can organize and manage any number of subscriptions to create a customized reading experience that matches your interests. And, like I said earlier, a whole new collection of devices and applications are now making my reading experience as beautiful as it is interesting.

It’s not just readers finding blogs either. Search engines and news aggregators are finding them too. Once again, the structure of the blog platform makes them very search friendly and when writers add keyword tags to their posts it increases their visibility even more. This gives unknown writers opportunities they might never have otherwise. With blogs and news reading apps, there aren’t any gatekeepers limiting access to content. The reader now makes that choice.

The information junkie in me is lovin’ every minute of it!

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