The symbiosis of mainstream media and blogs

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I read through an article on blogging in the Financial Times this morning to help me as I develop some frameworks on the changing content creation landscape. The article was clearly negative on blogging being the transformative media it is touted to be, though brought out some interesting points. The writer makes the point that blogs are not self-sufficient – they depend largely on the mainstream media for their fodder.

“The present round of chiselling may feel exciting and radically new – but blogging in the US is not reflective of the kind of deep social and political change that lay behind the alternative press in the 1960s. Instead, its dependency on old media for its material brings to mind Swift’s fleas sucking upon other fleas “ad infinitum”: somewhere there has to be a host for feeding to begin. That blogs will one day rule the media world is a triumph of optimism over parasitism.”

Cute metaphor. Yet symbiosis is far more apt than parasitism. Mainstream media in its online form largely gets attention through blogs. Blogs add immense value to the original articles, by identiyfing what’s important, pointing out flaws, adding other perspectives, making visible to all the conversations that stem from media pieces. Blogs depend on mainstream media, with its resources and editorial capabilities, for sure. Yet media is increasingly dependent on blogging for the direction of attention and layer of value-add created.