ANDREW SULLIVAN : 2008 VERSUS 2016.

INTRODUCTION TO JOURNALISM – EXERCISE 02.

Users of the World Wide Web seem to be evolving just as quickly as the web itself. Take a look at blogger Andrew Sullivan. Here we compare an introductory blog post from 2008 to a 2016 testament of the fall of man to its online master.

The difference between the two articles is noticeable almost immediately. The title of the first, “Why I Blog”, carries an air that gives away the naivety of someone who is trying their hand at something new. It’s simple, informative and a little boring. The title of the latter article, “I Used to Be a Human”, is a stark contrast to the simplicity of the first. The title gives off defeated vibes and sounds almost cynical. Already, readers can realise there has been a severe change from the person who had written the first article to the author of the second.

“Why I Blog” is a neat, clean article that delves into the constantly innovative nature of the World Wide Web and contrasts it to the old-fashioned ways of print journalism. The article explains the basic function of blog writing to be a log of thoughts that is published publicly on the web, likening it to log records of sea journeys. Noted are the pros to blog writing, which include the literary liberty to write about anything and everything and the high levels of participation from other users and readers. Cons to blog writing are comprised of the non-stop, immediate deadlines with high risks of errors and the instant and highly personal nature of feedback that lacks the shield that print journalists have. “Why I Blog” ties together the positive and negative aspects to blogging and advises that successful blogs require a good balance between the opinions of its author and the opinions of its readers.

“I Used to Be a Human Being” returns to the idea of the web’s innovative nature introduced in the first article and explores its dark side. With how widespread the use of mobile technology is, addiction is nearly impossible to avoid – let alone recognise, due to the ego-inflating rewards of huge audiences. Addiction to the web has shown to be capable of being brutal to physical health and has also heavily deteriorated the human skill of interaction. Sullivan speaks about his personal experience with recovery and the gradual recognition by others for the need to detox from the online world, as shown in statistics displaying the increase of yoga practice from 2012 to 2016.

“Why I Blog” anticipates the growing innovative and social nature of the online web while “I Used to Be a Human Being” shows that the same author has quickly grown weary of that attitude. Though both perspectives are understandable and justifiable, I personally agree more with the first of the articles. The power of the World Wide Web is nothing to sneeze at and can be used to do great things with journalism as long as you keep in mind the warnings given in the latter article and exercise your literary freedom with caution.

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