From time to time, people wonder if Guidry News Service has blogs and whether we use social media.
I think it would be helpful for me to discuss how I define those terms.
"Blog" is a contraction of "Web Log", which was a technique developed to give people without a full service website an Internet presence. There are many excellent blogs published by individuals in news, industry, government and private life. These are actually small websites with individual URLs that might be promoted by email or on full service websites.
Most establishment newspapers, for various reasons, publish daily updates from their regular columnists which they call blogs. In addition, regular contributors to the newspaper publish blogs, which are actually columns, on a variety of topics that complement the newspaper’s regular coverage - such as weather, technology or sports. I think these contributions would be more accurately described as columns, but people like to call them blogs.
Because many blogs are not professionally edited, but published as written by the blogger, Lynda and I have referred to them as “blobs”. This is unfair to those blogs that are actually well-written and edited columns, but they choose to call their products blogs.
"Social Media" is an interesting phenomenon.
When Facebook came on the scene thousands of people signed up and created Facebook pages. Like blogs, Facebook pages are actually individual websites with unique URLs, which provide an Internet presence for individuals, organizations and businesses without websites. Because these pages are interactive, they also became a way for new and old friends to communicate with each other.
Guidry News Service entered the Internet age in its infancy. GuidryNews.com was established as a source of news on the Gulf Coast in 1997. As our coverage expanded from Galveston Island to several counties on the Gulf Coast, the scope of coverage expanded from municipal and county governments to include regional bodies like port commissions and councils of government.
When Facebook came on the scene, we established a Facebook page, but quickly learned that it had nothing to offer our readers that was as substantial as what we already were publishing on GuidryNews.com. Thus, we decided to not expend our energy on that site and instead left it in place to direct interested people to GuidryNews.com.
Twitter is another story. I understand that many people use Twitter as a constant stream of communication on daily activities, many trivial but others more substantial. Most Twitter exchanges are two-way with unedited comments from a variety of contributors. This takes my concern about unedited blogs to a new, lower level.
However, Guidry News Service does have a Twitter account and we make good use of it as a way to publish news bulletins. Subscribers to our Twitter feeds are notified of many breaking news stories as soon as they are posted on GuidryNews.com.
Although we do not support a two-way exchange on Twitter or any other social media, we welcome all communications from our readers, elected officials and all others who want to engage in a private exchange via email to News@GuidryNews.com; and we will publish virtually all submissions to the GuidryNews.com Forum. We have no word limit and will publish images, video and audio that are submitted. We edit only for reasons of legal liability and obvious grammatical mistakes and/or typos.
While I may sound less than enthusiastic about the social media, let me say that it has been very, very good to Guidry News Service. All of the articles we publish (including this one) have links to Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook, Newsvine and LinkedIn, as well as an easy way to forward the articles via email. The reader need only click on one of the icons at the bottom of each article to forward it to their social circle.
Terms such as “blog” and “social media” come and go in the Internet world.
I recall when the term “podcast” was born from the iPod craze in the early days of the 21st Century. I was not the first to use an iPod, but when we learned of the concept of providing audio via a “podcast”, we were amused. We had been providing audio to our audience since the late 20th Century, using the previously preferred name “webcast”.
Basically, the point of this commentary is that Guidry News Service is very serious about our coverage of news and we really appreciate those who have followed us throughout the years.
We will continue to adapt new technological developments as they come along to best serve our audience's interests and needs.