Got an email the other day from Michael Martine, a Montpelier-based web designer and self-described "internet evangelist." I added him to the Vermont blogroll, and thought I'd share some of his thoughts, since they pretty much mirror my own. I'm sure he won't object to the publicity.
"I feel that blogs and their attendant technologies, like RSS and especially podcasting, are strong matches with the Vermont character," he writes, "they're more human, down-to-earth and conversational (like a farmer's market). Plus [they display] a healthy DIY ethic. Many activists have lamented the consolidation of media, including the difficulties of small radio stations. Blogs and podcasting really take a lot of strife out of that struggle because traditional media outlets are no longer needed at all."
I disagree with that last statement about traditional media not being needed — I think there's still value in "old media," at least until "new media" starts hiring skilled reporters to provide reliable news coverage — but I think these new technologies can provide healthy competition for newspapers that have become stodgy and complacent (cough...Burlington Free Press...cough). In other words, a lively, dynamic local blogosphere is good for all of us.
FYI, Martine's written a good blogging primer for folks who are still scratching their heads, wondering what the heck this blogging thing's all about. It's geared toward business owners, but it's useful for others as well.