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New Tools on the Web (May 01, 2006)


May 1, 2006
By Pulp & Paper Canada

So, is this just another way for webheads to post opinions and pictures of their cats? Maybe, but it has also been used in other ways:…

So, is this just another way for webheads to post opinions and pictures of their cats? Maybe, but it has also been used in other ways:

In the early 90’s, it was mostly used by people to disseminate their opinions. However, when these opinions are read by tens of thousands of people, it has the reach and influence of a newspaper column.

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Bloggers have become an influence in U.S. politics and are believed to have discredited a U.S. Senate Majority Leader.

Bloggers have given a personal view to world events, including blogs from both soldiers and civilians in the Iraq war, and survivors of earthquakes, storms and tsunamis. These have often contradicted the official versions of these events, putting pressure on those in power.

Many politicians in developed countries use blogs to maintain contact with their constituents, providing a channel for their opinions.

Mainstream media has recognized the influence of blogs and bloggers, with The Guardian (U.K.) and Fortune magazine publishing summaries and lists of blogs. The reason for their interest is the tremendous influence these blogs have on so many issues. Blogs are a method to get many people with similar interests working for a common goal or to disseminate information that might not otherwise reach its audience. This can work both for people building support for their cause and for a business trying to reach a community.

Several major corporations use blogs to support positions in business and the community, or promote new products or offerings. These blogs may be used as tools to reach a target market, for advertising, to assist in the development of products or just about any use requiring the dissemination of information.

Companies use blogs to connect with communities in which they work. Some monitor blogs to determine the response to particular actions. There are blogs whose topics include the activities of companies such as Abitibi Consolidated, International Paper, Falconbridge and many others. These blogs discuss the actions these corporations are taking in industry and in communities, and express the views of both passive viewers and active participants. Some cover concerns of investors, others those of environmental protestors. The bloggers themselves may be company employees, paid to write blogs or doing so freelance. Or they may represent groups with a particular interest. It is important to remember that, although corporate blogs are generally moderated and proofed for accuracy, the same cannot be said for personal blogs. Anything can be said in these, just as in any personal communications. Unless something legally actionable is posted, there are no restrictions, and, as with anything on the Internet, the information is only as good as the source.

Blogs and bloggers have become an alternative form of news media. They can bring together people who are closely related, either geographically or by interest. A small town can have a blog to address local concerns, or a wide-spread group can use it to connect and discuss items of common interest. However blogs are used, they have become a powerful influence and should be considered both as a tool and as a concern.

If you have anything to add or would like to suggest another topic, please contact the author. Dan Davies is the application manager at Degussa Canada in bleaching and water chemicals. He can be reached at dan.davies@shaw.com


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