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Regulation Could Change the Face of Blogging

By: Toni Harrison
By: Toni Harrison

Millions of people are catching on to a new internet phenomenon called blogging. Bloggers, from the words "web log" -- write personal online diaries and commentaries and address issues national media outlets miss or dumb down.

Some serious bloggers, like 22 year old Nate Nance, blog 365 days a year and have a loyal following.

"What I want to do is sort of articulate my opinion and I can't do that without an audience," said Nate Nance, blogger.

In his political blogs Nate feels the freedom to say whatever he wants.

"I gotta write about how silly Bill Frist is," said Nance.

Ian Weber is a global media professor at Texas A&M University. He says it's the absence of restriction that makes blogging so attractive to the millions of Americans that blog everyday.

"It's a very flexible environment for people to really have a voice in society when so often people don't fell as though they are being herd," said Ian Weber, blog expert.

But safety issues are a concern. Most bloggers include their personal information as part of their blog, after all for many it is a journal. Weber is concerned that younger bloggers could be putting themselves in danger.

"There are dangers involved in young people putting that kind of information on the internet. If you put your name and details out on the internet then of course people are going to contact you," said Weber.

That has happened to Nate. Of course it wasn't a dangerous situation, after all that's how we found him. But things are changing.

"There are security measures now being implemented to help people prevent that kind of data gathering that may put certain people at risk," said Weber.

There are also concerns about the opinions expressed in blogs. Bloggers have free reign to say what they want, whether it's based in fact or not and that free reign creates a problem.

"While the United States has a wonderful environment for freedom of speech that can go to far and if people feel as though these opinions are coming from a credible source and believe these types of things then people can run into problems," said Weber.

No one really knows what those problems are -- yet. That's because blogging is so new.

"One of the problems is that government regulation is always reactive so it is a case of monitoring and seeing how this develops," said Weber.

Serious bloggers like Nate are worried about how regulation will develop. Nate says that limiting or burdening those who are vocal and active in blogging will only create a future where people are less vocal but still no less full of ideas and opinions.

So who is right? That question may never have a real answer, but in time government regulation will set policy -- all the while there's a boom -- in the business of blogging.


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