10/15/2005

The blogging generation

THE news from our ICM poll that a third of young people online have launched their own blog or personal website may come as a surprise to many older people only dimly aware of what blogging is all about.
It is the latest example of the transforming effects of the information revolution that are leaving very few activities unaffected. Blogging simply involves setting up a site on the internet where you can “blog” your views together with photographs and invite comments from friends or interested people anywhere in the world, as long as they are online. It takes only a few minutes to set up a site with one of numerous free programmes available on the web. Michael Howard was quite right in his valedictory speech to yesterday’s Tory conference to say of the new generation: “Their youth has been shaped by the internet and the iPod, by cheap flights and mobile phones.” And not only youth. Blogging is now a mainstream activity for politicians, economists and, increasingly, corporations, plus the army of bloggers around the world who call governments and companies to account with instant rebuttals and who are setting up heir own form of “citizens’ journalism” to provide a grassroots alternative to what is perceived as the corporate-driven agenda of many media organisations. Blogging in turn is only a small part of the digital revolution that has provided practically everyone in the industrialised world who wants one with a mobile phone that is itself cannibalising other gizmos such as cameras, music players, radios and 50 other functions. From cars that know where they are located to robot vacuum cleaners, and from internet shopping to playing online games with millions of others around the world, the digital revolution is sweeping all before it. Above all - thanks to search engines such as Google and Yahoo - there is free access (after paying a monthly fee to a service provider) to practically anything you want to know about anything. The limiting factor on acquiring knowledge these days is not being rich but whether you have the inclination to search for it or not. There are, of course, dangers — from inadequate monitoring of what children are doing to the avalanche of junk mail and pornography that assails users. —The Guardian, London
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thank you= dawn

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