by oneafrikan on July 26, 2005
Chaggnutt talks about whether blogs are mainstream, and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, which in itself is one of the more informative pieces I’ve come accross.
Most people I speak to don’t know what a blog is.
Some have heard of it, most of which think it’s some really hard, weird, geek technology that’s best left to geeks. Some of my friends now call any website a blog – that’s their metaphor. Looking at a lot of the stuff written lately about the relevancy of blogging, and recent acquisitions made, it’s clear that blogging has started to enter the mainstream thought horizon, and people are doing deals now to start getting marketshare for when the mainstream catches on. Statements made by Bill Gates to other industry leaders have to have created an awareness amongst viewers (but then you had to watch that newsclip, or read that article to know it, wouldn’t you?).
So mostly I agree with him, based on my experiences in working and speaking with a lot of people not in the industry, not insiders so to speak. I think what a lot of people in the industry forget is that there is a world aside from computers, that the rest of the world actually prefers. Just like my girlfriend likes to garden in the evening at the end of a long day, my brother likes to do his gym, and Andrew likes to go play ultimate frisbee, I get a kick out of playing with sql and working on my blog or any other techie type thing. I even sometimes like to learn the linux command line. I even sort and organise my folders so that I can find stuff easier in the future (No, I’m not a Google Desktop convert at home, yet). I think a lot of other bloggers are like that too, and because that’s what it takes to get better and be competitive in the industry and your workplace, you think it’s normal. You may even think it’s normal to make 10 posts a day.
As for peaking, no way.
I think that’s absurd, and a little arrogant. We may well be experiencing a consolidation as current bloggers reconcile what they blog and who for; perhaps even a saturation of the early adopter market; but as current tools mature, and new tools and services arrive, more and more people are going to jump on board. I doubt Michel anticipated that B2 would turn into WordPress and then go on to be one of the most popular blogging tools out there. Mark Shuttleworth has been called a visionary for Ubuntu Linux, but doesn’t yet have a blog; neither do several other industry leaders and visionaries (yet). Why not? I think the jury is still out on whether blogs are a viable business tool (for whatever business function) or just a playtool / soapbox for geeks.
Instead, I’d like to venture that instead of a peaking, you’ll start to see a niche’ing of the blogosphere, and thus growth within those niches. Bloggers will realise that if they’re going to keep doing this, then they need to write about stuff they really care about. Left Brain Right Brain is a case in point.. As this happens, bloggers with similiar interests will get to know each other and start grouping around topics that they share. So will their readers. As you can well imagine, the number of potential topics is relatively infinite, and when you throw in the number of languages there are, then it gets even bigger. Similarly, businesses will start to realise that blogging is actually just a simple, honest, direct way to communicate with customers and clients, so will start adopting it as a point of information and reference as such. This has started in tech, and is slowly spreading to other industries that want to start looking more human and less PR machine.
At the end of the day, blogging is about personal publishing. No more, no less. It’s just that we’ve never had this opportunity/ability before.
The net result I think is that over time average people will start to aggregate the stuff that makes sense to their daily lives and their jobs, seeking information that is relevant and timely for them. They’ll use tools like Technorati to keep track of what’s being said on the blogs by real people (not PR machines). Conversely, bloggers will need to keep their niched specialisation in order to keep their audiences. As with any other medium, people are fickle. Give them what they are looking for, or they go away. I don’t think that ads are going to turn people away. We’re so used to them anyways, as long as the content is there, and it’s not too difficult to gain access to, then I don’t think it’s a massive limiting factor.
As for RSS; don’t get me started on RSS. No one in the real world knows what it is. Let’s take one step at a time ;-)