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SOME "PREDICTIONS" FOR 2004

Doug Davis is the Benjamin R. Collins Professor of Social Sciences and a “personality” psychologist who for the past decade has been concerned with the role of the Internet in psychology.

“The year 2004 looks like the 'Year of the Blog.' The blog, or weblog, is an individually crafted page available to anyone with Internet access. There are free tools available on the Net allowing even persons with little computer skill to craft a blog in a few minutes, and tens of millions of persons around the world are now doing so.

The typical blogger is adolescent or early adult, educated, and verbally skilled, and blogs feature diaries, dreams, media fandom, political views, and religious or other passions. The Howard Dean campaign demonstrates the grass-roots political power of blogging, and blog communities such as LiveJournal are flourishing on every college and high school community in the country. One of the first blogs was created by Swarthmore student Justin Hall in the mid-'90s, and by the time U.S. forces entered Iraq, the 'Baghdad Blogger' was offering daily commentary from the street. Most blogs allow any reader to comment on the bloggers posts, and new tools permit separate blogs to be interlinked so that comments to one are automatically visible from the other.

Personality psychologists have traditionally collected questionnaires from fellow-students or judged personal values from individuals diaries and correspondence. Now, one enters the 'bloggosphere' and starts coding."

Sample blogs for the curious:
Justin Hall: www.links.net
"riverbend" (a young woman in Baghdad): www.riverbendblog.blogspot.com
Blog tools for the neophyte: www.livejournal.com
Doug Davis's memex: d2blog.typepad.com/d2/

The ramp from Magill Library with Ryan Gym and Sharpless Hall in the background.

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