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Communicating Truth: Media Trends and Why (biblio) Bloggers Should Care (1 of 5)



For some time now, I’ve been interested in studying media trends and how they affect people (in general) and biblical scholarship (in particular). After reading an excellent post regarding media trends by Thomas Baekdal (it’s worth your time!), I wanted to reflect on what his contentions have to do with bibliobloggers and anyone else with a desire to communicate via the prevailing media. I will proceed to do so in 5 posts. Here is the first:

1.a. What does Baekdal contend?

The article takes us on an “(unscientific) tour of the last 210 years of information + 10 more years into the future.” His chart (above) illustrates this well. He suggests that the way we receive and distribute information has a sort of ‘tidal’ quality: new waves of technology have carried in new mediums for communication. In the last decade, the tide has picked up. The tide cannot be infallibly forecasted far into the future, but Baekdal gives us a reasonable forecast that (if accurate) will affect you and me.

1.b.  Is the article accurate?

Most of the article deals with observable past trends, and I find the summary acceptable. Additionally, I find his forecast compelling! He seats social-networking on the throne of 2009 (with blogging, websites, and TV holding royal positions, too). He forecasts 3 main trends in the future (1) Social news – hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth; (2) Audio/Video streams; and what he calls (3) Targeted information – information automatically filtered according to your preferences (think ‘Google’). One of the most fascinating forecasts he makes deals with “intelligent information.” I’ll discuss this in a post later in this series.

1.c. Why should bibliobloggers care?

I hope to flesh this out in the next two posts (dealing with how these trends might affect us and how this relates to the identity of a biblioblogger). To give a brief thought: I believe our bottom line is influence. When we write, we desire to influence. Some may be looking for popularity or readership (what’s the difference?) or “peer-reviewed” posts related to their fields, but don’t we click “publish” with the hope that somebody reads what we say? And when they read it, don’t we want him or her to respond in some way? I believe this reflects our desire to influence.


If the content we publish is sound and profitable, influence is precious. If the content we publish is shoddy and poor, influence is useless. If we have no influence, our content is irrelevant. This is why media trends should matter to bibliobloggers: influence.

Update: Interestingly, bloggers aren’t the only ones who care about social media. The military is pretty interested as well!

Part 2: Bibliobloggers and Spheres of Influence

Part 3: Blogging with Integrity

Part 4: The Future of Biblical Scholarship

Part 5: Jumping on the Social Media Bandwagon

13 Responses to Communicating Truth: Media Trends and Why (biblio) Bloggers Should Care (1 of 5)

  1. hey man great to see you blogging! i added a feed to my yahoo page. thanks for stopping by my blog, man, i tried to give a meaningful response but you’ll have to determine whether or not i succeeded lol.

    keep it up

    mike fox

  2. What i notice is the difference from the begining. If you look the social part of society was located where? at the market place. The market was a social gathering. As technology continues we see that it is the computer, tv, phones that have an outlet to this social gathering with out leaving the indentions of our couch. However, I believe, as more and more we spend on the computer talking and blogging, our social skills go down. It is important to be with poeple and talk face to face instead of hiding an identity behind the screen. I was told that if we have good communication skills we are above the average and that Jobs look more for poeple who have the skills to communicate, sense even at the age of 5 we know what buttons to press on a cell phone to send a text to another kindergarten friend. Hope I didnt spoil what you were planning on writing, but I have been thinking about that for a long time! I hate social networking such as FB and myspace because it really does take away the intemacy of interpersonal communication

    • Cameron, I think you’ve definitely outlined some potential pitfalls to popular social media. (I listed a few pitfalls here as well.) Certainly there are lots of folks out there with pink eyes (from the various screens they gaze into) and a lack of face-to-face social skills. This is bad! But I think a majority of folks still maintain regular face-to-face social interaction (at church, the mall, school, neighbors, etc.).

      Even so, I share your concern. I am afraid that too much ‘virtual’ socializing can lead to a lack of transparency and ‘virtual’ schizophrenia. I began to notice this while in youth ministry. The social media site xanga erupted onto the scene. It was amazing to witness the ‘split’ personalities emerge!

      In the case of facebook, I am a user. I think with a little discipline, such a social media site can serve to enhance communication and networking, so long as it doesn’t replace personal (non-virtual) communication. In my case, I have developed relationships that have been mutually beneficial (and otherwise impossible because of the distance factor).

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