Blogging is a fad - personal publishing is real
OK - so that is a bit controversial perhaps, but if you really look at it from a macro point of view, blogging is a new term for what people have done for centuries. The best part about it of course is how easy it is now for people to share their thoughts. It used to be that someone who wanted a personal web site needed to know HTML, FTP, and Photoshop or be able to pay someone who did. So now, all someone needs to know is how to fill out some forms and write, or speak, or record video...
So the Internet revolution is finally about to take hold of the global consciousness as a participatory medium. Up till now, it has primarily been used by the mainstream of society as a place for information retrieval, shopping and talking with others. This is incredibly good news, but lets talk about why I think it is a fad. There are really 2 primary reasons for this - the first is psychological and is backed up with statistics as shown below and the second is more evolutionary in nature.
1 - Psychological and Sociological reasons blogging is a fad
Simply put, we have historical proof that a lot of people start with good intentions towards keeping an updated personal web site, but eventually taper off their involvement over time. There are many reasons for this such as: lack of time; lack of satisfaction; lack of time; getting flamed or put down; realizations that what they have to share is not worthwhile; human nature to start something with high interest that fades over time as the original motivation is lost; and revised priorities to name just a few.
The other thing is that blogging is at present still emanating from the core of geekdom. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a full-fledged geek myself, though often not accepted as one within their circles because I don’t geek out hard enough with coding and I have an equally live business mindset as well as a spiritual base. By this I really mean that mainstream society has yet to fully embrace it (I still have to explain it to smart people I know who live in San Francisco) and I don’t think they will in its current form. Just take a look at these stats from LiveJournal
How many users, and how many of those are active?
Total accounts: 7,432,685
... active in some way: 2,639,465
... that have ever updated: 5,278,345
... updating in last 30 days: 1,488,723
... updating in last 7 days: 924,956
... updating in past 24 hours: 338,654
Most people see these stats and think how great it is, I look it at and see that fully 28% of people signed up and never updated. More telling is that only 35% are 'active in some way' and out of those active members, only 35% of them (or 12% of total) have posted within the last week. Please note that I am a confirmed, committed and card-carrying optimist, but this is just sticking out as a sore thumb. Also, the largest population of members from LiveJournal is between 15-20 years old
What does it mean? Well it doesn’t mean that blogging is going away, but I do see it needing to evolve in order to fully penetrate the global consciousness. Which brings me to point 2
2 - The evolution of Blogging
The rise of blogging is a force majeure in my decision to start building my new company. Only with the rise of Blogs and WIKIs and social networking would Insytes be possible. But all the venture capitalists investing in blogging tools, blogging syndicates and other singularly unfocused business models are in for another shakeout. These tools, due to the power of open source software and the great community behind it, are certain to be available free at some point if not already. Right now everyone is on the Internet 2.0 bandwagon (including me to a degree) but many are simply tackling a 'space' that will be commoditized, or worse, will become just a feature of a Yahoo or Google. But I digress from my main point here, so lets get back to that...
If we look back historically to the origins of publishing with Gutenberg we can make an informed assumption that his motivation was perhaps 2 fold - 1 to move intellectual life out of the church and court and 2 to make money in doing so (though it can be reasonably argued that he did it out of religious inspiration we actually don’t know his true motivations - http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventors/gutenberg.htm) - OK, another tangent, albeit important, that I will wrap to get to the point so I can get to my meeting....
Journaling goes back even further then Gutenberg, back to the time of the caveman and cave paintings. The need for humans to tell their story is obviously innate and great. So is the need to share knowledge and pass it on to others and for many people motivated by joy or anger, so is the need to provide commentary. Today in our often physically distant digital economy, we also have a serious need to know more about the person sharing their thoughts, opinions and commentary. The blogosphere is clearly the foundation of this global conversation, but I contend it is only the beginning. With the power to easily self publish the amount of bullshit disseminated is going to increase so much I recently bought hip waders and galoshes just so I can get through the day!
Ultimately I envisions that there will be several different types of 'Blogs' created by both organizations and individuals and this is where I will end - the types of Blogs, which may or may not still be called Blogs after this whole fad shakes out are
- Commentorial (opinion type stuff, on politics, society and related humanities stuff)
- Insytes (intellectual contributions to the global understanding of best practices)
- Journals (personal stories for private and public audiences)
- Passionals (fan sites and other hobby focused stuffed)
- Entertaining (works of fiction)
- Reportings (news from individuals and organizations)
Are there some other types of categories for future Blogs that I missed? let me know what you think...