A Restatement of Purpose…and some nifty links

This blog has been out of commission for several weeks now, and to celebrate the return of regular postings to The Maple Log, I thought I would reintroduce it, and then share some thoughts, and some links to other people’s thoughts, on the way that we, as people, process media that we encounter on the internet.

This blog began last year when The Record went back online thanks to the work of Paul Meyer Reimer and Adriel Santiago.  Reimer and Santiago designed the entire front-end of the Record using WordPress, a free-source blogging interface that is making waves in the blog community (hereby referred to as blogosphere) for the past couple of years.  Sheldon Good, the Editor of The Record at the time, decided to create a blog, hosted on The Record’s website, with the delightfully punny name “The Maple Log.”

The Maple Log is primarily a tool for the extending the scope of The Record’s online coverage.  As a weekly paper, The Record often doesn’t have a chance to print news until it is already pretty old.  Sometimes there are stories that need to be told now, and the web is a great place to do that, as when Sheldon Good wrote about the canoe accident involving two GC alumni last year.  That story needed to get out, and it wasn’t going to wait until Thursday, and The Maple Log was there.

Additionally though, this blog is a place for more fluid discourse than can be shared in the print medium.  The Maple Log is a place to share links to other informative news outlets or relevant web sites, and it is a place for users to leave feedback, adding a more communal element to the idea of newsgathering and distribution.

In that vein, I’d like to share a couple of links to sites that have helped me process news in different and meaningful ways.

Link one: www.twitter.com

This website is a huge part of the current overturn in how value of content is judged on the web, in what Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor and communications pundit, calls the link economy.  In the link economy, content has no value if it can’t draw an audience, and the way you draw an audience is through links, according to Jarvis’ post on his blog,

http://www.buzzmachine.com/2008/06/18/the-link-economy-v-the-content-economy/

Twitter is an excellent venue for link distribution, and an incredible tool for drawing audience to content in the new online information economy.

Link two: http://slatest.slate.com/features/news_dots/default.htm

This is an incredible tool for visualizing the intertextuality of news sources.  Trend tracking is an excellent way to discern what media consumers and publishers are thinking about and talking about, and thereby have an index of what news is important, how all the news interrelates. NewsDots is a map of news memes that does a great job tracking trends and presenting its findings in a visually interesting way.

As technology improves, the scale at which we process information online is constantly shifting.  When individuals can use online tools to track national and international trends, a whole new world of options for editorial style commentary and crowdsourced opinion becomes available, and blogging is a huge part of that.

In the coming months, this blog will be a place to explore the new information economy from a Goshen College perspective.

Written by Chase Snyder

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