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It is better
to not be on
the web than
to be on and
not know why

John Sumser

is more
it seems.
John Gall


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Blogs Revisited

(December 16, 2003) - Not all that long ago, we pointed out a number of blogs that were generating exciting new content about and for the industry. Throughout the entire series on blogs (I, II, III, IV, V, VI), we tried to emphasize their importance as a technical proving ground. Ultimately, the importance of blogs is the technology they are pioneering, not the content they are providing.

Most of the blogs we pointed out ceased publishing (or lost their edge) somewhere in the past 90 days. Daily publishing, at any level of quality, is a task that requires deep commitment and significant resources. Just because you can publish never means that the work will happen. The calendar moves relentlessly in an online publishing environment. Finding the energy to constantly reframe and refine can be a Herculean task.

Few bloggers view their work as a commitment to an audience. Rather, blogs are often the products of passionate (and often insightful) people with a moment of opportunity. Like flowers along the roadside, they emerge, blossom and whither. As a part of a larger media ecology, they are like wildflowers, providing encouragement to a variety of sturdier plants and insects.

Interestingly, they seem to have a "half-life" that is identical to the existence of a resume. A subset flourishes in those moments of personal transition / momentary insight. Tirelessly mining the edge for publishable insight is a kind of hard work that exceeds the bounds of momentary passion. In the end, it requires business-like discipline and resources to provide disciplined delivery of information.

But, that's hardly the whole Blog story.

While content doesn't grow on trees, the underlying blog technology gets improved by each new user. RSS will be the foundation of micro-advertising in the near future. RSS is the method used to move news stories around the Blog community (syndication). The "Blogosphere's" emphasis on tracking, rankings and other forms of audience measurement and fedback are rapidly introducing a standard of transparency. RSS itself provides a viable and interesting alternative to spam clogged communications arteries.

Like websites (HTML), Blogging is about the methods and structures of next generation computer communication. It's not the content.

John Sumser

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