I’m growing a little weary of the constant cry that ‘journalism is changing’. Not because I’m doubtful that it is, but because I can’t seem to think of a time when it hasn’t been, in one form or another.
The death knell of journalism has been declared several times now, and I’m feeling a bit like someone’s crying wolf. Many journalists don’t like Web 2.0, because they feel like it does them out of a job, and they can no longer lord it over the little people.
Thankfully however, there are others, such as Jeff Jarvis acting as a cheerleader for the citizen journalist, hopefully the line that many others will eventually start to adopt. There probably will be some professionals out there who’ll be put out of a job because of the new breed of bloggers, twitterers et al., but let’s face it, if they can’t do a job as well as an amateur, they probably shouldn’t be doing it anyway. As Jarvis rightly says, it’s ‘professional journalism and its jealousies’.
Personally, and I’m not sure about admitting this in such a public forum, but here goes it, I’ve always been a big-time geek. I was a user of Web 1.0, never mind Web 2.0. The latter however meant that I could concentrate on content, not style, and more importantly meant I needed to be better because if I wasn’t, there were thousands, nay millions ready and willing to take the baton.
Although I’d had websites when I was younger, I didn’t start my blog until about six months ago. Why did I do that? Well, crazily enough, I thought, as an aspiring writer I should probably do some writing. (Sometimes I have crazy thoughts like that, but I do try to keep them under control). It started around the same time I got my Flickr account. A long-time fan of photography, my sister introduced me to a crazy project called ‘One Photo a Day for a Year’, and Flickr was the perfect platform this. I can now lose an entire day looking through other people’s photos and projects, and bizarrely enough, even my mother now has her own page. (She shouts at me when I don’t upload a photo for a while…).
Going back to blogging, it worries me slightly that some people want to make money from their blog, because for me, it’s never been about that. My blog is my space for my thoughts and my opinion, I don’t care if it makes money, in fact I probably don’t want it to. As soon as money comes in to the picture (however nice that undeniably is) it becomes all about writing things that make money; and that might not necessarily be what I want to write about. Of all the professional blogs I’ve ever read (such as Nick Robinson’s, Media Monkey etc have been written by professionals, yes, but aren’t the sole writing job of the individual involved).
Of course Web 2.0 is more than just blogs. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that all of us love Wikipedia. Who hasn’t declared something to be true, only to be backed up by Wikipedia? Need to know exactly what the American Civil War was – never fear, Wiki’s here! Wikipedia is amazing, because people are amazing. Look at what we can do, together across the world, when we share our knowledge. Okay, perhaps you can’t rely on Wikipedia 100%, but you probably can 95%, and 99% of the time that’s good enough.
Twitter on the other hand, is something I, even as a self-confessed geek hadn’t used before until a couple of weeks ago. Admittedly I knew what it was; The Guardian seems to have been a big fan of it for a while now. I will confess, I didn’t quite see the point of it, but (and I really like it when this happens) I’ve been proved wrong. Within a week, I’ve become slightly addicted, and I think (if perhaps not now) it will become extremely useful in the future.
So what’s going to happen when Web 3.0 gets here? Well I don’t quite know, but Wikipedia (god I love that) says this: ‘such as those using semantic web, microformats, natural language search, data-mining, machine learning, recommendation agents, and artificial intelligence technologies’. Well, even to me, Mrs Mega-Geek that means nothing, but I can’t wait to find out.