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Blogs > USA Today cover story

January 1, 2004

Well, blogs have made the cover story of USA Today. Think of all the folks who picked up their free copy outside their hotel doorway or at the airport to see the headline “Freewheeling Bloggers…” Comes on top of PC Magazine’s prediction that both Leno and Letterman would crack jokes about blogs in early 2004. The public is learning about blogs in a hurry.

Admittedly USA Today’s story is focused on blogs and politics but the fact blogs is the cover story is a big deal. Who the heck would have guessed a year ago the term ‘bloggers’ would be in big bold type on the front page of a national newspaper. There are also some key points USA Today makes about Blogs.

First, USA Today defines blogs to be something more than an online diary (a view held by many) – a cyber-magazine for a targeted audience who returns to the blog on a regular basis. Second, blogs eliminate gatekeepers allowing a blog publisher to reach their audience directly. Third, USA Today tells all what we bloggers already know – that blogs allow “users to create Web pages without using complicated computer coding called HTML”

USA Today reports blogs are having an impact such as driving the story that took Trent Lott down as Senate Majority Leader and each presidential candidate, including the Bush Campaign, using a blog to get their word out.

Ellen Miller, a longtime political analyst and Washington lobbyist says about blogging “It takes the media out of the hands of the corporate world and puts it in the hands of the guys with the computers.” Jay Rosenburg chairman of NYU’s Journalism department puts it, “Readers are becoming the writers.”

Though blogging software was first written for techies with Web sites, USA reports the free market took over. People without a tech or journalism background began to use blogs to publish on a topic important to them. Blogs have grown from the thousands to the millions in only a few years.

Lawyers should take a look at the article; there is much to be learned. If there is a topic important to you, and I hope your area of practice is, you can now publish your thoughts and insight to the Internet. Your message can reach an audience directly without having to go through traditional publishing or advertising mediums. Though a Web site theoretically allowed lawyers to do this before, you needed to know computer coding or hire someone to do it for you. Plus Web sites always required upfront graphic costs for an end result that did little to bring in new clients.

Most important, just as in the political world, your message will have an impact on people. Not on every person but by the people likely to see it in their browsing patterns) but a family looking for asset management help for mom before she moves into a nursing home will be. That’s the power of a blog.

Read the USA Today article. I know it may not be your favorite source for news but soak in what they are telling the public about the influence of blogs. They are a coming.

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