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Blogs as the downfall of paper media

Marina Gallo's picture

Marina Gallo

Professor Dalke

Emerging Genres

Paper 3

April 26, 2008


Blogs as the Downfall of Paper Media.


I have always been interested in keeping up with the news and the latest styles, yet the fashion in which I do so seems to have changed. Lately I have noticed that instead of going down to the store to buy a magazine or paper in order to find out what is going on in the world, I simply power on my laptop, get on the Internet, and instantly have all the news I might wish for at my fingertips. This method seems much more immediate and cost effective than waiting for the newspaper or magazine to publish what I could find out in seconds in blogs providing a wealth of information. Perhaps this is a reflection upon my personal laziness, but considering the millions ofpeople who have replaced paper media in favor of websites and blogs, I am tempted to believe that a trend is forming.

According to New York Magazine, one of the Tri-co’s very own, Justin Hall, created the first blog in 1994, incurring great blame from the paper media for the loss of sales that they have suffered since the birth of blogs. According to, Since 1994 around 32 million Americans have begun to read blogs, and over 50 million people worldwide write blogs. I concede that people still do utilize the paper media, but given the accelerating trend toward online media, I believe that paper media will soon become obsolete. Europe has already seen a decrease inthe consumption of print media. According to an article on an E-consultancy website, “European consumers are now statistically spending more time online than reading newspapers and magazines.” This statement causes one to begin considering that Americans most likely are also spending more time online. I believe that this change is intrinsically based in America’s need to have everything quickly. Our nation is a rushed society in which waiting 2 minutes for a cup of coffee seems to be a massive inconvenience. Gone are the days when we would write letters to our friends, replaced now by e-mails that arrive in a person’s inbox in mere seconds, or even by a note left on a facebook wall. With this fast paced lifestyle, full of immediate gratification, we have become much more impatient as a nation and blogs seem to alleviate that impatience by eliminating any wait for the media.

Another factor behind the progression from paper media to blogging is the physical use of paper itself. Beyond the environmental concern our society seems to possess, one must also think of the cost difference. Although people have to pay for the Internet regardless, spending $4 for a copy of Vogue or even $1.25 for the local paper seems now to be an unnecessary additional cost, which we have now learned to avoid by utilizing blogs. So it appears that blogs eliminate paper waste and money spent, both of which are undeniable benefits in a time when our economy is struggling and our concern regarding the environment continues to increase.

In terms of saving money, there are, almost comically, even blogs about how to be thrifty. By capitalizing on other people’s knowledge, the individuals of our nation are greatly benefiting ourselves. As for the environmental concern, newspapers are a prime example ofwasted paper. People read their papers, perhaps do the crossword puzzle in the back, and then dispose of them without a second thought. A much more environmentally sound solution would be to subscribe to newspapers and magazines online. With an online subscription to magazines or papers, a person would get the benefits of having the same information as if you bought it physically, just without the waste. Blogs are free to read so no subscription is needed for one to enjoy information and conversation that they might not have otherwise have had access to. Furthermore, there are blogs geared toward specific subjects, allowing someone interested in politics toavoid reading about the latest Britney Spear’s breakdown as they flip through their newspaper. This allows a person not only to find specific topic blog, but more over to spend the small amount of time available to focus upon their topics of interest.

Though participation one can find satisfying outcomes in blogging that people may not even be aware of. By having a forum in which people can read and also respond, blogs allow their readers access to not only news, but also to the opportunityto meet new people and share interests. Responding to magazines or papers requires personally written letters, which in addition to inevitable mail delays usually ends in an unfulfilling and timely experience. Blogging is much more personal and timely, and may even lead to new or larger social networks. This is a wonderful way to socialize with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds, which could potentially lead to a better-informed and more tolerant public. In addition to creating new social networks by engaging in conversations or debates on blogs, one is given a new outlet for debate and feedback. This lends to the sense of community, but also allows people to bounce ideas off of one another, without fear of retribution.

The allowance forself-expression is uniquely present in blogs since everyone has an opinion, and in blogs they are given an anonymous community in which express themselves. Unlike paper media,blogs can be written by anyone. The voice that comes from blogging is much broader (in terms of age, gender, education level, etc) and provides a wider representation of thought on various topics. Nowhere will you see a 12-year-old writing in a newspaper or magazine, yet in blogs young people can explore writing techniques in a personally enjoyable manner. This is an outlet that, not very long ago, was unavailable.Now that the opportunity is available, people ought to utilize it as much as possible. Some people that find their voices within the blogging world go on to play larger roles within this community. By having roles to play, like aggregators, gatekeepers, or web mistresses, people are given new ways to find meaning and importance outside of the real or physical world. This newfound importance can be life changing for certain people, particularly for severely shy or introverted individuals. If a person is feeling bored, lonely,or unimportant, engaging in blogging can be a gateway for change. Different reasons for blogging ring true to many people, including Laura Blankenship (GeekyMom), who started blogging because she was bored with her kids, or like the founder of the blogging website, whose site began as an outlet for help after his child took her own life. The reasons people start blogging may not be as significant as saving the environment or being prudent with money, but the outcome still can be noteworthy.

Blogging fulfills multiple holes in life while providing a substitution that, in several ways, is better than the original. By developing new communication and information technologies, opportunities for new genres in writing, new types of communication, and even the possibility for greater global tolerance and understanding to develop. Blogs not only create outlets, but also go even further by subsequently making opportunities that were not previously available through media resources. In the end it appears that the transition to blogging is saving money, reducing environmental damage and presenting invaluable outlets which I think have potential positive outcomes.


















Duncan. "Number of Blogs Now Exceeds 50 MillionWorldwide." Blog Herald. 14 Apr.

2005. 27 Apr. 2008<



Maven, Richard. "Web Overtakes Print MediaConsumption in Europe." E-Consultancy .

Oct. 2006. 26 Apr. 2008<



Thompson, Clive. "The Early Years." NewYork Magazine. 13 Feb. 2006. 27 Apr. 2008





Anne Dalke's picture

News and Style

So, for starters, a few definitions: what’s the relation between “news” and “styles”? Is news just the latest style, style just the latest newness? In pursuing the most up-to-date information, are we only (fruitlessly) chasing the last style, one that’s sure to change soon?

As a challenge to your claim that our fast-paced search for “news” and “style” is “full of immediate gratification,” and that blogs, in particular, “seem to alleviate that impatience,” look again @ the PBS interview with Swarthmore Psychology Professor Barry Schwartz, which we read together a couple of years ago, and whose recent book on The Paradox of Choice suggests that there is a tipping point, beyond which a large number of options paralyzes consumers, and actually prevents them from making a selection. Having lots of the new, in Schwartz’s view, leads not to gratification, but paralysis.

And now I’m hearing an echo between Schwartz’s description of “paralysis,” what you call your “ personal laziness,” and what Calderon called Serendip’s “lazy democracy.” Perhaps, far from gratifying, all this new information is making us lethargic? If that’s the case, perhaps paper media will not “soon become obsolete,” as you predict, but remain useful to us. What can it do that on-line media cannot?

You say, for instance, that “blogs can be written by anyone,” “without fear of retribution.” Are there no limits to this process, no hindrances? What about flame wars? What about the illiterate? Those without access to computers? Is English an asset for communication on the internet?

I was perhaps most struck by your observation that the internet can be life changing, particularly for those who are “severely shy or introverted individuals.” Wouldn’t it be interesting to run a Meyers-Briggs type indicator on heavy bloggers? Do you think that the shy are looking for “new or larger social networks”? Or for a close group of the like-minded? How might forming those sorts of group lead to a “better-informed and more tolerant public”? Is social networking the goal here? (I ask because, elsewhere, you seem to collapse blogs with on-line newspapers.)

Finally, you say that “people ought to utilize” blogs. The similar word “should”
got Calderon in trouble
, and I think “ought” is a problem for your argument, too: wherefrom the moral imperative?