Blogs Can Help Make Media Simple

Amid the proliferation of blogs there’s concern that they are merely adding to the confusion and noise on the web. At the heart of these criticisms is that bloggers are complicating the media world even further, making it harder to discern what is believable and accurate with so many varied opinions flying around the Internet.

Well, it just might be that blogs are actually simplifying media after all.

When Clay Shirky recently wrote about The Collapse of Complex Business Models, he applied a 1988 book by Joseph Tainter about collapsing societies to today’s business, in particular media companies. Shirky says that due to organizational patterns and culture, they become more complex, rather than simplified. And this, in turn, prevents efficiency and improvement. In many cases, as Shirky agrees with Tainter, when things get so complex, they eventually collapse. He concludes, “The is one compensating advantage for the people who escaped the old system: when the ecosystem stops rewarding complexity, it is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present… who get to say what happens in the future.”

There are indeed significant complexities in the manner in which media companies are run. But could blogs actually be part of the solution? Roland Legrand posits that blogs are a tool that can simplify traditional media, that “blogs can battle complexity.”

Some of his points parallel our discussion about blogs and technology. WordPress and other blogging platforms are fairly easy to use, and allow many within an organization to utilize the aspects of managing a blog. Also, he says that blogs are like small media enterprises, even when within larger media companies, and thus can fend off becoming overly complex. Furthermore, blogs offer a general aura of freedom, which Legrand says doesn’t “bog them down with too many rules and procedures.”

I agree. We needn’t condemn a technology merely because we don’t think it’s worthwhile, or don’t fully understand it. Rather, we should be open-minded about why it’s popular and its place within society. Better yet, if we’re wise, we will find ways to utilize things like blogs to our benefit, by embracing the positive traits and identifying the best application of them within our organizations and communities.

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