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It is better
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John Sumser

is more
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VirtualEdge The Electronic Recruiting News is a Free Daily Newsletter For Recruiters, HR Managers, Advertising Agencies and Clasified Advertising Operations

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That Blog Thing VII

(October 06, 2003) - At its simplest, a usable web page is text only. No graphics, limited use of tables, styles defined by style sheets, short sentences, big fonts, plain background, no fancy labs or studies required. That's why we say that

9. Blogs demonstrate the viability of ongoing usability experiments.

While we don't want to ignore the interesting work going on at Monster or the CareerJournal (their new redesign is driven by usability), simplicity is the essence of usability. The culture that swirls around blogs, more or less, assumes that any design that disenfranchises a reader is a bad thing.

That's due to the extremely small readership of the average blog. Anything that can drive a reader away matters more when your audience is 50 people. Using and developing a blog is a powerful experiment that helps you see the dynamics of traffic development and the content-audience relationship up close and personal.

Although many contemporary bloggers would reject the idea, the absolute best experience a marketing person in our industry could have is the development of a regular blog audience. Tuning material to audience tastes while trying to grow traffic and improve the quality of the  offering on a variety of levels is precisely the task facing any organization wishing to do recruitment advertising in the 21st Century. Too few industry people have real experience with the challenge.

10. Blogs provide a platform for the emergence of non-search subject matter guides.

Although Google (and its various forms of ranking) are high on the minds of most bloggers, blogging makes the limitations of search technology pretty clear. Before the emergence of blogs, subject matter experts Margaret Riley Dikel, for example) have been the alternative route to understanding any subject area. Blogs provide a window of opportunity (like GetThatJob) for newcomers to join the fun.

While the big internet companies are focused on search engine performance and reach, subject area expertise is a matter of personal investment in time and passion. Blogs are currently providing a useful supplement to blogs. As the fad matures, key gateways will evolve.

11. Blogs represent the return of human control to the technical swirl.

The internet will always be in a struggle to balance human and technical control. For most of the past couple of years, we've been involved in spam, virus, search and operating system issues that are completely divorced from the human side. Blogs reassert the importance of the human component. Ultimately, the web is a conversational, interactive medium. The interactions are between people.

12. Blogs are the source of the tools and standards that will drive Web 2.0

For all of the talk, it's easy to overlook the fact that blogs have introduced large scale, self-generating XML transactions onto the desktop. Simplicity aside, bloggers are proving the viability of simple syndication schemes, micro-advertising, alternative intellectual property approaches, embedded interactions, publication management, new ranking methods and a host of other tools. Like the early days of website development, the experiment doesn't really involve any of the large companies that will ultimately pick it up and commercialize it.

John Sumser

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