The rise and rise of the blog

Friday, March 31st, 2006

The notion that people might want to have their own personal web page arose early in the Internet revolution and took off as the Internet became mainstream — who can forget the thousands of template-generated Geocities web sites that appeared in the mid 1990s.

The problem with these web pages was that creating them was a pain and updating them was a major chore, and what did you put on them anyway? Does anyone really care what your hobbies are?

More than a decade on and with the rise of social computing, and the blog, in particular, the whole process of Internet publishing has become so much easier.

Blogs are a breeze to set up. If you don’t want to install a system such as WordPress on your server (if you have one), you can easily sign up with a service such as Blogger, and be blogging in minutes.

Blogs are no harder to maintain than writing an email or typing a document in Word. Blogs are very efficient means of publishing ideas on the Internet. The whole blog experience is enhanced by amazing complementary services such as Photobucket, or YouTube, which allow you to easily publish photos and videos on your blog.

The question of what you put on your blog has also been answered – whatever you want! The Internet has become a marketplace – or is it an ecosystem – of ideas, where the fittest and best ideas thrive, and the boring and unoriginal, die. The interaction of bloggers and the cross fertilisation of ideas allow ideas to develop, evolve, and become better. Blogs are therefore not only a tool for publishing ideas, but also a tool for helping them become better ideas. Blogs are to ideas what culture is to bacteria. 

The implications of the increasing popularity of blogs is that traditional publishers aren’t the gatekeepers of information they once were. Consumers can bypass the traditional media and tap into the thoughts of other consumers, other people just like them.

It’s like the old social networks of neighbourhoods, towns and villages, which took quite a beating with the deterioration of the idea of “community” in the West, have made a comeback with the help of the Internet. 

So what am I going to add to the ongoing online discussion? I’ll be looking at developments in social computing and asking “what does it mean” and “what are its implications?”

These questions do not have simple answers. However, as this blog develops, I hope it provides insights. Is this a pretentious goal? Perhaps, but I’m willing to bet that what we’re seeing now are the early stages of a revolution that will change forever how we consume media, and how we communicate and exchange ideas. And that’s pretty exciting.