The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Students blogging on…

Blogs rapidly becoming venue for expression in college community

Nationwide, the population of college students posting onlinediaries or blogs has increased. Blogs are rapidly becoming keysources of information for college students on topics ranging fromfamilies to fraternities, politics to parties, trends to taboos andconvocation to commencement.

The difference between blog news sites and traditional mediaoutlets is that blogs are posted in real-time without undergoingthe traditional editing process. Many blogs are posted anonymously,making author identification difficult if not impossible. Criticsof the new online blogging trends say that while blogs provideinformation, there is no way to verify facts.

“I view blogs as being akin to writers publishing theirnotes as opposed to a publication making available carefullyresearched, edited, fact-checked and proofread stories,” saidAlan Zeichick, editor in chief of the SD Times magazine andprincipal analyst with Camden associates in a recent article.

Other college students disagree with Zeichick and feel theuncensored blog reports provide a more complete evaluation ofcurrent events.

SMU junior philosophy major Jim Kyle said he started bloggingonce Operation Iraqi Freedom began.

“I have never completely trusted big media outlets toreport the true events occurring in Iraq,” Kyle said.”I prefer to read reports filed by freelance reportersstationed in Iraq like Christopher Allbritton. I also like to readthe blog of Salem Pax who is a citizen of Baghdad. Only throughuncensored outlets on the Internet can you get trueinformation.”

Other students, like senior business major, Winston Cutshall,use blogs for different reasons such as storing information.

Cutshall finds it easy to access notes using a blog from anycomputer terminal, which he says is especially helpful forresearch.

“I just set up my blog site using the Google toolbar so Ican retrieve my notes and bookmarked Web sites from any computer. Ihave something like 300 bookmarks,” Cutshall said.

Although blogging has occurred since the mid-‘90s, theblogging craze did not begin until Google bought Blogger.com fromPYRA labs in February of 2003. According to the Blogger.com Website, Blogger started out as a small company developed in SanFrancisco by PYRA to develop web tools for the average person.After surviving the dot-com boom and bust, PYRA was acquired byGoogle. Google has now incorporated the software into its toolbarso that any user can click a button and set up a blog site.Blogger.com estimates that 1 million people are posting blogs, withthe number growing daily.

With Google’s acquisition of Blogger.com and theincreasingly simple personal blogging programs available on Websites like www.blogger.com and www.smu.edu/dc, SMU student bloggingis on the rise. Many students say they use blogs to get updates andcommentary relating to current national and international news aswell as under-reported news such as the nominations of PresidentBush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair for the Nobel PeacePrize.

With the increase in blogging among college students,politicians and advertisers are now using blog sites to reach outto younger people. The online campaign of President Bush has itsown blog site designed to encourage letters of support. Onceposted, the letters are automatically sent to newspaperpublications by the Web site staff.

Advertisers are also using blogs to promote new merchandise.

Dr.Pepper/Seven Up, Inc. provided hundreds of blog writers withits new drink, Raging Cow, hoping bloggers would positively mentionthe product on the Web-log.

The increased attention from mainstream media outlets andadvertisers supports recently released statistics fromwww.Blogger.com showing that the skyrocketing popularity of blogsis expected to continue.

“I think that blogging is more addicting than any realityTV show,” said Kyle. “I enjoy reading about otherpeople’s lives and thoughts on events that affect them. Itgives me a different news perspective that I can’t getanywhere else.”

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