Monday, April 05, 2004

Blogs - what's the big deal?

Some see blogs as no different from personal Websites, and decry their textiness. Blogs are not Web sites, communities, FAQ boards or newsgroups. They are a little different in many respects. They may be fads in that the way Web-log tools are typically invoked today is unikely to be the way they are invoked tomorrow. But these days the capacity for rapid evolution is a key to viability. The inherent contradiction of techno-fads is that built-in rapid-redundancy is how they stay alive.

And don't knock text on the Internet. E-mail (text) is still the biggest single application of the Internet. Text in books, newspapers, and magazines is still quite common too, and most of us do not refuse to read a book because it has no pictures. Text may not be cool, but it's a pretty good tool for communication.

People will read what appeals to them. If a blog is unsophisticated and tries to target a sophisticated audience, it's not going to get much traffic. And, as with anything you see on the Web, read in your local newspaper, or hear on a press conference, you have to be ready to use your own cr@p-detector.

As a 'serious journalist' (i.e. one who makes a living primarily from traditional media), John Dvorak's perspective on blogs is bound to be a little patronising, or even defensive. But, apart from the masses who put up short-lived vanity blogs (e.g. those that publish their own poetry), Dvorak acknowledges that there are some very useful blogs around in the public domain. Closed-group corporate blogs are even more relevant and useful, but you are not likely to ever get access to them.

No comments: