July 16, 2004
It's been a frustrating month in blogging terms: I'm up to my eyeballs in interesting stuff at work but none of it around technology and communications. In the mean time there is plenty else going on out there. Thankfully, the blogosphere keeps me topped up with snippets of what's going on. Most regularly I am reading Suw Charman who, through her blog (and also some time recently on the Social Software blog) provides plenty of stimulating links and questions.
Most recently she posted ruminations from her time in Vienna at BlogTalk and some questions she's mulling over. And good questions they are too. So I've responded to some myself:
- Blogs are oral communications in a written format. What implications does this have for those of us working in this area professionally? How can this format be adapted to business use and how will businesses need to adapt in order to make best use of the blog format?
Up to a point. I'd say that blogs are conversational or discursive, but I'd draw back from calling them 'oral conversations in a written format' - chat on an IRC may be that but not blogs. Blogs are generally edited - if only a little - which puts them a step away from oral conversation.
More importantly, Suw is right to make the point about business. Blogs are about conversations and relationships: the former leading to the latter. A conversational style of writing that expects reply and engagement reveals personality (of the blogger and the business) and can build relationships between businesses and their stakeholders.
- Video blogs. Will video blogging be the next big thing or are people happy with the simpler, more basic moblog? Are barriers to entry, such as bandwidth requirements and complexity of format, too high?
I don't see this being big in the near term and possibly not even long term: the simplicity of blogging is still largly about text - text is cheap (bandwidth etc), you read at your own speed, cut and paste easily, can play tricks with it, hide behind it and more. Video is very revealling, difficult to edit, only exists in the present (text is vastly more timeless); I could go on (and may at a later date).
- Geourls and geoblogging. It's easy to tie a website or blog to a geographical location with a geourl, but what practical uses does it have? And would geobloggers make themselves vulnerable by publicising their exact location? How can moblogs - particularly individual entries in a moblog - utilise geourls, maybe alongside GPS, to provide additional useful image metadata? (I haven't checked, but surely this must have been done already though? It's such a no-brainer.)
Restaurant reviews, pub guides, historical tours, traffic info etc... I agree that its a no-brainer. The Urban Tapestries project is working on it, I think.
- Forming networks. Blogs are invaluable as networking tools, but they don't work well in isolation. What other tools are required to make the best of blog networking opportunities and what are the emergent behaviours amongst users?
According to Social Software Blog Feedster is getting some functionality to work with blogs in a 'technorati-like' fashion. I think we'll see more and more of this, not least with more use of RSS.
- Categorisation. It is too easy to lump all blogs together under one, ill-fitting umbrella, and extend conclusions from one small subsection of the blogosphere to the whole thing. How can we categorise the blogosphere and where do common generalisations fall down or turn into misconceptions?
When we stop talking about blogging we'll know we've got there ;-)
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