Thursday, February 20, 2020

The future of blogs: up, up and away?

The future of blogs: up, up and away?

Beyond a doubt, blogs have a bright future. It is tempting to get carried away by all the exuberance that is generated.

Bill Gates says that blogs "will fundamentally change the way we document our lives." Technorati CEO David Sifry says that 11 blog posts are made per second.

While this may be true, we must resist the temptation to let ourselves go. Let's analyze the perspectives of blogs as a 'personal technology', or a technology that people use to improve their effectiveness or productivity, or just for fun.

All successful personal technologies that acquire widespread use (be it the humble pen, the phone or the iPod), have certain distinctive features: they are easy to use, satisfy a basic need and provide a new way of expressing an existing behavior or habit . Technologies that reduce these three aspects tend to 'take off', and their use increases sharply *.

Blogs certainly satisfy a basic need, the need for self-expression and social interaction. It is also more powerful in many ways than other technologies that meet similar needs (phone, email or online chat), since it is more "permanent" and allows the visibility of anyone who can access the Web.It also allows people to 'discover' others with similar tastes, wherever they are in the world.

Well, that leaves the ease of use. I fear that blogging is somewhat less stellar in this regard, although it is simpler than creating personal web pages, it is still far behind in terms of ease of use by phone and email. So, ease of use is the first thing you need to improve on blogs (I hope that blog tool creators are listening).

If one is tempted to argue that blogs are already very successful, you just have to pause to consider the numbers: according to most estimates, there are about 80 million blogs in the world today, while the The number of phones worldwide (landline and mobile) is around 2 billion. This is not to take anything away from the success of blogs, but only to establish a benchmark (certainly somewhat crude)!

However, so far we have only seen half of the image, and we have succeeded. Success brings its own problems, and indeed, blogs must also overcome a couple of challenges that success brings:

Better ways to manage the "blog mess".

Even with the current number of blogs, it is difficult for people to navigate the blogosphere. Telephones or email do not need to solve this problem, since they are 'push' technologies, which means that * you * want to * restrict who can contact you using these technologies. However, if blogs really deliver on their promise to allow "discovery" of like-minded people, then blog search engines should (and will be) smarter.

Of course, search is not the only way to manage the disorder; For example, Heather Green of Business Week talks about creating lists of 'influential bloggers'.

Blogging needs to find ways to enable various communication needs

Blogging tools already do a decent half job by allowing digital content to be shared. However, as camera phones proliferate, sharing images and movies will become increasingly common. You are also likely to need blogging from heterogeneous devices (phones and appliances).

Of course, this piece only addresses blogs as a 'personal technology'. The analysis of your business perspectives, which are incipient at this time, is the subject of a completely different discussion!