Some think blogs aren’t very important. Blogs are just places for people to write opinions and others come along and agree or disagree with the opinions posted in the blog.

However, times are changing and so is the power of the blog.

Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic Monthly used a blog to get more people to subscribe to the printed copy of the magazine. The New York Times reported the Atlantic Monthly pulled in seventy-five percent of its month subscriptions that come from the website within two days of the posting of Sullivan’s blog (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/21/business/media/21atlantic.html).

Colleges are starting to see the power of the blog as well. M.I.T is actually paying its selected students ten dollars an hour to post a blog or two a week about their experiences with the school on the school’s webpage. Perspective students really enjoy reading the blogs and, in typical blog fashion, conversations about all aspects of the school start happening. What better way to sell a person on a particular school then having students actually talk about their experiences at the school in a blog? The blog writers also become small celebrities on campus when students who follow a particular blog come to the campus for a college tour (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/02/education/02blogs.html).

Blogs are great because they are usually written in a conversational tone encouraging people to talk about things. People respond with their ideas on the subject and conversations happen between people who have similar interests but may not live in similar time zones.

Humans are social creatures. Facebook and MySpace have us all reaching out to lost friends and family. Blogs are helping us find others who are willing to talk about things we want to discuss. Blogs give writers instant readers and instant feedback.

But is the power of the blog hurting writers?

Instead of writing short stories, I look for articles I have opinions on. I write about these articles and watch the discussion begin. With my blog, I get instant readers and feedback. I don’t have to wait for months for a rejection letter; I can get yelled at within a few hours of a blog posting. My name becomes “Google-able”. It’s easier to write a blog then a short story. I don’t have to worry too much about characters and the plot when writing a blog. I can just write a conversation and people will listen and respond.

While the power of the blog is undeniable, I often wonder if it hurts more than we realize. I know people have lost jobs because of what they have posted on their personal blogs (and social networking pages as well). However, some people have gained jobs from blogging. Blogs are easy to do and that stops me from working on the more difficult task of improving a story. Then again, I have fans that look forward to reading my blogs. So do I just let them down because I have to write a story?  Would fans of my blog also become fans of my fiction?

The blog has more power then we realize. It can get people to change their mind about a school. Blogs can help get new subscriptions for a magazine. Blogs can help educate others with first hand accounts of things. Blogs are the keepers of our opinions. They help us develop a group of fans.

It’s amazing what a little blog can do.

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