Are blogs and bloggers still a puzzle for the man in the street? The question stunned me I must admit. While walking down the aisle of the yearly event of the Confederation of French Industry Medef – equivalent to CBI – I was getting ready for a session of liveblogging in front of a panel of ex-ministers, worldwide banking experts, and other celebrities such as former Poland’s premier Lech Walesa when a seated person stopped me by putting her hand on my arm. “Tell me”, she said while eyeing my “blogger” badge which signalled that I was one of the 50+ Internet experts invited by the confederation in order to cover the event, “what is a blogger?”
Why is Joe Bloggs still puzzled over blogs and bloggers?
I must admit that I must have looked pretty flabbergasted. As the media is awash with blog reports and web reviews, and even mainstream Hollywood films like the recent State of Play feature blogs as a main contender in the online/offline press battle, I had surmised that blogging was an established fact of modern life. Let’s face the fact readers, it is not! Joe public still doesn’t know what it is about, or not quite.
Blogging is still exotic to many, and not just across the Channel. Judging by the frequent questions I have on the same lines in England and even in the United States, I can assure you that we are not there yet. So how long will it take for everyone to understand? Judging by what happened with core Internet activities, one started talking about the information superhighway as it was then known in England as early as 1994 but things only took off seriously towards the end of the 1990s.
Will blogging follow the same trajectory? Maybe it just won’t happen like that. It is highly probable that people will all use blogs/microblogs (such as the outstanding Posterous service) and other Social Media gadgets even before they understand the weird names we have given them. To a large extent, this is what this Social Media revolution is all about, i.e. forgetting about the buzz-words and just going ahead with it.
Yes Madam, you are right, not everybody knows what bloggers are, yet they are truly here to stay anyway.