Blogging may seem like a harmless pastime for most people, but it actually wields a great deal of power and influence when it is in the hands of a savvy author.
It makes sense that this should be the case, as blogging has a number of capabilities as a vehicle, that other media lacks.
A blog is accessible from anywhere as long as someone has an internet connection, and can be updated from mobile phones or through software like Microsoft Word.
It is arguably the easiest, cheapest and most simple form of communication once it’s up and running well.
Whereas in the past, people who had something to say had to commit their concepts to paper, now with a few keystrokes and a submit button they can share their views with a potential audience of millions, instantly.
Unsurprisingly, politicians have been quite quick to seize upon this opportunity. In addition to traditional canvassing and publishing, more and more influential figures are opting to harness the power of the humble blog to share their views and persuade their audience.
Notable figures in the virtual world
Blogging is taking off as a popular means for communicating for notable people.
Tom Cruise blogs about Scientology,
Prince Harry writes of his time in Afghanistan, and even David Cameron has an online diary.
Bill Gates blogs, as does Stephen Fry, when he is not flipping out and getting offended by comments on Twitter.
More and more people are realising that they can enhance their popularity and reach their audience quickly, without having to engage with physical activities such as personal appearances and autograph signing!
The pitfalls of political blogging
Blogging can sometimes have unforeseen consequences in politically sensitive areas.
Blogs are much harder to control than broadcast or even print media. As a result, totalitarian and authoritarian regimes often seek to suppress blogs or punish those who maintain them.
In Singapore, two ethnic Chinese were imprisoned under the country’s anti-sedition law for posting anti-Muslim remarks in their blogs.
Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer was charged with insulting the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and an Islamic institution through his blog.
It is the first time in the history of Egypt that a blogger was prosecuted.
After a brief trial session that took place in Alexandria, the blogger was found guilty and sentenced to prison terms of three years for insulting Islam and inciting sedition, and one year for insulting Mubarak.
After expressing opinions in his personal blog about the state of the Sudanese armed forces, Jan Pronk, United Nations Special Representative for the Sudan, was given three days notice to leave Sudan.
The Sudanese army had demanded his deportation.
In Myanmar, Nay Phone Latt, a blogger, was sentenced to 20 years in jail for posting a cartoon critical of head of state Than Shwe.
These extreme reactions are testament to the power and recognition which blogging now commands.
No longer a simple platform for hobbyists, blogging has changed over the past few years, becoming one of the most powerful mediums for communication that there is.
What on-line stories do you remember that have made a world wide impact?
Please share your views in the comments below.