Blogging and the Loss of Privacy

Blogging seems to be a recent phenomenon that has a large following. There are thousands of blogs, some with hundreds of followers, and some with none at all. Some bloggers get paid for expressing their opinions, while others simply write as a hobby for themselves. Before I get too far into discussion, it’s best to first define the major term. According to the English Language Teaching journal (ELT), blogs are web logs of thoughts, reflections, and events in the writer’s life (Eastment, 2005). Therefore, blogging is the act of creating and editing this type of log.

It should not come to any surprise that with blogging comes the expected loss of privacy, as mentioned in Cairncross’s “Trendspotter’s Guide”. After all, individuals are sharing personal stories and opinions on the internet, one of the least secure hosts possible. According to the Information and Communications Technology Law, blogs raise a number of privacy issues since they are easy to produce and disseminate, resulting in large amounts of sometimes personal information being broadcast across the internet (McCullagh, 2008). Not all bloggers intend for their information to be seen by strangers, however, and make their blogs private for only approved readers to view. Even these steps are not always enough to secure information. The Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology report that blogging has become an important aspect of communication among college students (Child, Pearson, & Petronio, 2009). In fact, it is predicted that as many as four million college students maintain their own blog and are quick to disclose personal information on their respective sites. College students learn things and have new experiences every day, so it should come as no surprise that they are a growing group that are passionate about sharing their knowledge and encounters with the world.

I believe one trend that Cairncross didn’t mention but that could be found within blogging is the potential of commercial influence on opinions. Many blogs are now corporately sponsored, which means some of what they say are not as much the author’s true opinions, but rather are in support of a company’s new product. According to a study conducted by ResearchNow, nearly 9 in 10 consumers make purchases after reading about a product or service on a blog (Gunelius, 2014). That is a phenomenal percentage that gives a lot of power to the blogging author. Thus, why I think corporate influence is currently, and in the future, a trend of communication methods.

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