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Web 2.0 is Creating New Rules for Communication

I watch several blogs because they provide outstanding insights.  All of them post with sporadic frequency but I was concerned when Ed Batista stopped posting for over a month on his blog “Executive Coaching and Change Management”.  I started to worry about his health or was afraid that he’d lost interest.  Many blog entries  I’ve read emphasized the importance of frequent postings to ensure readership.  I figured this was kind of a rule for blogs so something must have happened to Ed.  I sent him an email and he was kind enough to respond.  He said that he was fine and that he had given himself permission to take a break.  He also gave me a link to an article providing a very different view of blog value.  This posting really changed the way that I looked at Blogging.

I started this blog almost on a dare.  I was eating dinner with a couple buddies and they were telling me how Web 2.0 has changed the face of the internet.  They enthusiastically rhapsodized about all web denizens being content contributors and that people were making fortunes from their blogs. My skepticism was scoffed at and they authoritatively quoted “Wikinomics”.   I told them that I would try an experiment by creating a blog and using it as almost a diary of issues that I run into in my work life to see if I can develop a community and product some income.  I committed to one article a week and was on my way.  The thing that I noticed was that, despite some significant traffic, I have only had about 30 comments in 7 months (and almost no income from the AdSense and the Amazon affiliate program).  You may have noticed that I’ve asked for input in several articles but they haven’t generated many public comments (yes, I know, you’ve emailed, which I have appreciated, but that doesn’t count).  After reading the article that Ed sent to me I realized that my whole mindset towards blogging was “oh, so Web 1.0”.

Take a look at Eric Kintz’s article “Why Blogging Frequency Does Not Matter Anymore”.  There are a couple of important messages in this article that differentiate a blog from a magazine.  First, its about the content.  Bloggers need to write when the muse hits them, not because they have a schedule.  There is no real money in blogging that I can see.  Speaking for myself, the real value is that it has become a public therapy session and I’ve received some interesting emails (notice I say emails and not comments).  Web 2.0 aficionados use RSS feeds that notify them of any updates (There are many, if you’re not using any I might recommend netvibe.com because of simplicity).  The net is now about the right information at the right time with immediate and personal contact.  That might be why I get the emails instead of comments.

The experience with a fellow blogger really helped me understand the evolution of the net as a social and communication tool.  Web 2.0 is clearly about immediate and direct access to people and information.  But, more importantly, content creators must establish a level of credibility.  They have to define their goals for communication and stay true to those goals.  Its easy to get caught up in the old paradigms of scheduled delivery, but on the net (for no revenue) the tools notify readers of new material so they don’t have to keep checking.  The flip side of the right information at the right time is also a benefit to content producers.  Users are notified when our thoughts are available and they can look at only what interests them.  I just wish that people felt more free with their ideas in return.  I would love the comments section of my articles to be more of an exchange of ideas.  Alas, as I predicted at that fateful dinner, 99% of those on the net are lurkers.  Lurk on, at least I get a note now and then.


6 comments to Web 2.0 is Creating New Rules for Communication

  • Phil

    A reasonable blog requires the construction of complete sentences and an ability to form and shape something resembling a coherent thought. That’s WORK. I would guess that part of the success of Twitter comes from its ability to remove that barrier. Now you can compact the non-content of a blog into small, time wasting chunks. I still contend that the most appropriate name for a single twitter entry is a “twit.”

    Now that I think about it, most of the blogs I read point to other content and make a comment. There are scant few that seek to develop an original idea or tell a new story.

  • Great post, Devin–I appreciated your initial inquiry to me, and I love where you went with my response to you. I’m quite confident I’ll never “make a fortune” with my site, but in nearly 4 years of blogging (mostly on, occasionally off), I’ve found it a tremendously enriching experience in a number of ways. It’s a space where I can “think out loud” and engage in public dialogue with people who share my interests (but who may well disagree with my conclusions); it’s a readily-accessible library that I refer back to regularly; it’s provided many opportunities both to find others working in my field and to make myself “findable” to people interested in me and what I do; and, finally, it’s a record of my (evolving) thinking that allows people to get to know me much better than any social network profile ever could.

    Ed

  • Devin

    Ed, I’ve found that blogging provides similar benefits for me as well. I sit down and structure how I”m thinking about a problem or an issue and put it out there for other folk’s input. It’s also that library of stories that help me to illustrate points I’m trying to make. We dash off glib missives in email, text messages, and sometimes twitter, that we have fewer opportunities to write formally. This is good exercise for the brain.

  • I like the comparison between blogging and other, less formal means of expression. Blogging (for mer personally) is a semi-structured, semi-fluid, irregular activity. I’m not a journalist, much less an academic researcher, so I feel free to share opinions, but at the same time I don’t just dash off posts–I sometimes spend weeks mulling over a post before it comes together, and I always try to write posts that have a reasonable “shelf life.” But the beauty of the medium is that we’re all free to blog in the way that works best for us.

  • Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

  • Aaron

    Late to this conversation but thought you might like this if you haven’t seen it already
    http://gizmodo.com/5050110/boing-boing-gadgets-calls-us-all-out-on-lazy-blogging-i-blockquote-a-bunch-of-it-and-add-some-snarky-comments

    Although, I don’t consider it breaking any of his rules as I’m commenting, not blogging =D

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