Longwinded Blog Answer Tuesday May 30, 2006

So early today I force feed my opinion on this bloggin business on a friends personal blog. It was a continuation of a conversation I had with my old man from the previous night. Anyways I felt like posting the comment here as I really feel I was finally able to break down some of the myths of the blog and convey some of the ideas bounced around at SXSW. (Something I’ve been meaning to post for months now) So here we go.

[Saying that “blogs” are nothing more than a way to write] online about the mundane details about your daily life is like saying that a computer can be only used for forwarding jokes and writing about your trip to europe.

To get the whole blog thing you have to understand what a blog is and remove the idea from the content. A web log (abbreviated as blog) is essentially a content management system (CMS) that allows you to publish a list of entries on to a web page. Sounds simple enough and like you say the majority of blogging population are using this idea to publish a series of entires about their personal feelings, ideas and daily life.

But that’s where [the view of blogs] is far too narrow. Web logs and CMS have finally allowed the web to become what it was always promised to be. For years we heard that the web was going to be this great place where people could interact with each other and create their own web pages, yada, yada, yada. But the truth is unless you had a firm understanding of HTML, a background in computer science, a knowledge of ftp servers or the money to host your own domain the common individual couldn’t really partake in the whole experience. It was an exclusive activity where most people could only watch and view, but never participate.

Now with the development of CMS (Essentially Blog software) everyone can participate in the world wide weeeb. Anyone with some minor computer knowledge can log into Blogger or Myspace and create their own account. In 10 minutes they can be streaming their ideas on to website. This software is also simple enough to allow content to be dynamic (rather than static). Web logs also allow the viewer to comment on the entry. The view can now leave their opinions and reactions to a posting. Forming a discussion of ideas through the software capabilities of a Blog Software. For example, I’m leaving this extremely long winded post moments after the orginal post has been written.

So in part blogs seem to be a pretty noveltyish concept, but that’s because they are currently only being embraced within the large media from that viewpoint. The truth is this web log concept is changing media, business and publishing. For example by using CMS software small companies can now create their own dynamic web logs. They no longer have to hire a web design company to update their site. Instead they can update their web log on their own terms. Publish a new entry on a new product and allow their customers to comment on whether or not they like the product of not. Threadless.com has thrived on this concept. You post a design and the community interacts on whether that t-shirt sucks or rocks. They post their comments and even set-up mini blogs about why they like the shirt. User feedback from the web log posts decides which products are created.

Then you have Sportsnet.ca forcing their columnists and panelist to blog online. Seems simple right, but now you can log on and disagree or agree with the commentators and start an interactive debate with them on their viewpoints. Imagine if the CBC embraced this concept, you could actually log on and comment on the inane points of Don Cherry and Greg Millen. Amazing. While Sportsnet’s forary into the blog world seems to be in the infancy stages, one can look at a company like 37signals, which is using [the Signals vs. Noise] blog to not only update users on new upgrades to their software, but to open up debates on software usability, the concept of a web application and what direction their software should be taking.

Web logs are also being used to breakdown the traditional media. I won’t even chime in about the debate about political and news blogging as that has been debated to death. But let’s use Flickr for example. Flickr is essentially a web log of photos. Moments after the student riots and protests in France came to a conclusion people in France where posting their photos on flickr.) Surplanting the need for traditional media to filter through photgraphs and display only one side of the story. On flickr you could see photos of French firefighters battling burning cars or see the protests from the viewpoint of a 1000 marching students marching. This simple photo blog allowed thousands of different viewpoints of the protests.

There are far more examples, but what I am trying to get it is the currnet viewpoint of the “blog” is far two narrow. The concept of the “blog” is not in its content, but in rather of its capabilities. [The real way to understand this concept of] the blog is to look it as a tool rather than a online journal.

Yes, it is fairly longwinded and there are far better answers out there. But to me I really like what I vomitted out as an answer. To me, this really conveys the potential of web logs. This point is something I believe the Calgary and National media has completly missed. There is an overal tendancy to marginalize the web log phenomina as either some creepy way for pedophiles to attack children or for lonely emoteens to write bad poetry about ex-girlfriends. This blog phenomina isn’t strong enough to revolutionize your life, but it will change how you interact with the web. That I can guarntee you.

Categories: The-Blogosphere, The-Site, The Future, The Pop-Culture

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