Blogging has become a popular way of communicating over the past decade. It even has spawned a hybrid genre of “vlogging” which many people have taken to in order to expand their reach. People of all age groups from all over the world can blog and see others blog.
Personally, I think blogging is a valuable source of information depending on content. I enjoy reading travel blogs because it is an opportunity to read about an honest experience vs reading from a tourism website. I started blogging last semester and I find it enjoyable even if I don’t have a wide reach.
A lot of blogs provide information on improving one’s lifestyle or focus on reviewing a wide array of things. Tumbr is an example of how popular blogging can be, especially among millennials. Blogging has had an impact on society in regards to the way information spreads. Journalists and professional reviewers have slightly more competition. People don’t have to write a letter to the editor in order to share their opinions. Blogging even impacts the way people make money. Now, popular blogs can get ad revenue or endorsements. Many people have made careers out of endorsing and reviewing products. I expect the practice to remain steady with more people favoring vlogging since it has more revenue streams and popularity.
However, in many cases these platforms can become cyber-cesspools which Ronak Patel describes as “websites, blogs, and social networking sites frequently used to demean other people.” It is true that Internet sites have evolved into forums for posting rumors and/or hate speech about individuals and sometimes entire groups of people.
Although blogging has provided some benefits, there is a danger in giving everyone the “power to publish.” The book review mentions that all the authors in Part II came to the consensus that in the era of the Internet it is easy to spread false rumors. This is painfully topical given the election where fake news was all over the Internet.
It is especially dangerous when you have a large portion of the population that cannot discern fake news from real news. A well-educated population would not have such a problem but given the lack of critical thinking, false rumors can have dangerous results. People also have confirmation bias where they will interpret new evidence as confirmation of preexisting biases, beliefs, and theories.
Regulating hate speech on the Internet is especially tricky. The Internet has less regulation compared to other media, at least in the United States this is true. The Supreme Court has extended First Amendment protections to the Internet which makes it difficult to legally prosecute someone. However, people have taken justice into their own hands by boycotting events, products, companies, etc or calling the attention of employers.
Still, hate forums are a danger especially to minority groups. Many women receive hateful threats when they voice an opinion and hate groups have even gone as far as spreading personal information. This provides an extra layer of danger since personal information can result in a physical attack.
It is good for people to have the freedom to express their opinions. However, there is no protection on other people’s freedom to call you out when it disrespects or attacks another person’s existence. The spread of fake news blogs highlights the need for better education and critical thinking skills. Of course, it also shows the need for basic human decency.