Posted at 12:48 PM on January 22, 2009
by Sanden Totten
What are the best things about blogs?
1) They can be posted quickly 2) You can leave comments in real time 3) You can click your way to related articles, posts or videos.
Now imagine taking all those things away and what do you get? A new business venture!
The Printed Blog is a Chicago based company that is doing just that - printing blogs. It'll be a free weekly paper that has ambitions to go daily. It'll have different content for different neighborhoods, even letting people vote on which posts to publish. And the whole thing will be supported by the old standby, printed ads.
Before you judge it doomed (like I immediately did) factor in this:
"All growth in the newspaper industry for the last 20 years has been in free papers, and the fastest-growing segment of that for the last five years has been in free dailies."
That's a quote from H. Harrison Cochran, publisher of The Aurora Sentinel in Colorado and past president of Suburban Newspapers of America. On top of that, the Printed Blog has no reporters salaries to pay, they'll set up printers in the homes of distributors to reduce circulation costs and businesses can buy ads right on their site so sales folks aren't necessary either. That's some low overhead.
But for me it all gets back to that first question. What's a blog without the internet? We'll see if that is a question The Printed Blog can answer without ending up the punchline.
Blogs are superfluous; however, they are a portal into the mind of the writer and a chance for each reader to associate with or against the writers view. Readers do not have to agree – they can simply disagree; therefore, whichever position they take, their internal gratification can be satiated.
People read and write blogs for intrinsic reasons. Blogging gives the reader/writer a sense of belonging to a collective. The desire to blog is tantamount to the desire to be affiliated with a sports team – to be a part of a community and to be a part of something greater than their own mundane life. Organized religion also fills this void.
As long as voyeuristic reality shows, celebrity magazines, and overpaid professional athletes continue in vogue – blogs, too, will remain popular whether on-line or in print.
Gary, those are some interesting points and they really highlight what makes blogs and the community around them different from newspapers.
But the sense of community which you talk about is something a printed and static blog would struggle to achieve, right? It seems to me it's not just the message of blogs that create that community, it's the medium.