Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Where will blogs end up?
As the blogging phenomena takes off it's great to see all the tech players salivate as they imagine a vast new piece of Internet real estate being built. Indeed their eyes positively pop at the opportunity of owning land where the user has to do all the construction. All they have to do is figure out how to collect the rent. For the communications pros the interesting challenge is how to work with a community that is pure in thought and is keen to protect the blogsphere from becoming commercial. Of course we all know that if the blogsphere has real commercial value then it will get exploited by big business just like everything else. The challenge is of course how to take advantage of the blogsphere so that we don't destroy its value. Right now the value of the blogsphere is that enables anyone at any time to post commentary or perspective on anything. The discussions such information create and the transparency it promotes for companies and organizations is tremendous. Will this continue? Right now few companies effectively track the blogsphere, thus enabling issues to bubble and for truth to emerge long before an affected company takes action. That will change in the next few months. Tools such as Technorati's will enable all companies to monitor what's said and take action. Over time blogs will find it harder to attack companies, people or organizations. To use the real estate metaphor, as soon as someone sticks up a building they'll get surrounded by skyscrapers thus blocking out the view. Do I expect this to kill blogs? No. Instead Blogs will evolve. Just like the media the blogsphere is starting to replace (for some people at least), the blogsphere has already created its heroes. These heroes are creating a new form of media, where discussion and community are central. Over time the blogsphere will evolve from a world where content is created randomly across a broad and often new playing field, to a place where content is channeled and where people can easily join communities and discussion. Of course some will argue you can do this now. I'd argue that it's still way too hard and that the very nature of the blogsphere today means we're still marking out the territory. Only once the infrastructure is in place will the real blogsphere come to life and boy will that set up some interesting communications challenges.