How has the use of Internet weblogging affected the culture of communication?
Articles should address the influence of weblogging and Internet posting on
communication among users. How have these practices affected the interactions
News articles should not be addressed unless they
specially focus on the culture of communication in respect to internet users.
Relevant texts will discuss the relationship among users who blog and
Blogging goes mainstream
Success of Web journals heralds an even bigger future
Monday, March 10, 2003 Posted: 5:37 AM EST (1037 GMT)
SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- The online diaries known as Weblogs, or
"blogs," seemed like a lot of inconsequential chatter when
they surfaced a few years ago.
But as more people have embraced the concept, what once seemed like a passing
fancy has morphed into a cutting-edge phenomenon that may provide the platform
for the Internet's next wave of innovation and moneymaking opportunities.
"Just like the Internet was 10 years ago, blogging is popular with an
underground culture that is doing it for the love and passion," said Tony
Perkins, who edited the recently folded Red Herring technology magazine and
last month launched a business blog called Always On Network.
"Now there are people like me coming along and trying to figure out how to
package it," Perkins said. "It's time to take it to the next level."
Other notables seeking to capitalize on the rise of the Web's so-called
"Blogosphere" include Terra Lycos, America Online and Google.
Terra Lycos last month introduced publishing tools to help people launch their
own blogs. America Online is expected to offer a similar service to its 35
million subscribers later this year. America Online is a unit of AOL Time
Warner, as is CNN.com.
"We want to take what has been an underground phenomenon and introduce it to
the masses," said Charles Kilby, Terra Lycos' director of product marketing.
Google, the maker of the Web's most popular search engine, created the biggest
blogging stir of late by snapping up San Francisco startup Pyra Labs, which
runs the biggest network of Weblogs. Pyra's Blogger.com has more than 1
million members, including 200,000 running active blogs.
The people self-publishing these blogs are an eclectic mix, from trendy
teenagers discussing their body piercings to nerds swapping high-tech
insights, celebrities sharing their everyday lives and activists staking out
positions on Iraq.
While blogs are inherently personal, others offer an important communal
element by soliciting reader feedback and providing links to other Weblog
entries and content. Complex blogs like the technology-focused Slashdot.org
have extensive links to news articles, online discussions, even other blogs.
Blogging inexpensive, easy
This phenomenon is spreading largely because of inexpensive blogging software
that is designed to make it easy for just about anyone to publish an online
journal. No technical skills or knowledge about computer coding are required.
Organizing blogs doesn't require much thought or labor because the software
automatically sorts things in a chronological sequence, starting with the most
recent entry and working backward.
Perkins says he spent just $150 to license the software for his Always On
Network. Joining Always On is free for now, although Perkins eventually hopes
to charge $4.95 monthly subscriptions.
"With blogging, all you really need is an articulate point of view and some
dedication to reach a very broad audience," said Todd Copilevitz, director of
Richards Interactive, a marketing firm that has studied blogs extensively.
The "hive brain"
The way bloggers link and influence each other's thinking could lead to a
collective thought process, "a kind of hive brain," said Chris Cleveland, who
runs Dieselpoint, a Chicago maker of search software that recently worked with
The hive brain is a science fiction theme most famously explored in the 1996
Star Trek movie "First Contact," but Cleveland believes blogs can turn the
concept into reality with the help of Google's sifting skills.
Mountain View, California-based Google hasn't provided specifics about its
future blogging plans since buying Pyra Labs for an undisclosed amount in
In a posting on Blogger's Web site, Pyra Labs' principals said they decided to
sell after concluding "there were some sensible, cool, powerful things that we
could do on the technology/product side with Google that we couldn't do
Cleveland thinks Google might parlay its search engine expertise to develop
technology that will analyze which blogs are getting the most links and
pinpoint the most compelling material.
Some sites, such as daypop.com, use search engines to highlight the most
popular blogs, but the indexes are limited.
If Google were to introduce a more effective search tool, the best bloggers
might be easier to find, helping them emerge as influential trendsetters and
shape public opinion -- roles traditionally filled by mass media.
Cleveland describes this as "content Darwinism," a process that will push the
most compelling news and views to the blogging forefront.
Others take a less exalted view of blogging, likening the format to a cross
between reality TV and the give-and-take of an online auction.
"This is the 'eBayization' of the media," Perkins said. "You create a
compelling arena and then let the real entertainment come from the
Huge potential for advertisers
Because blogs tend to focus on specific subjects and attract people in similar
demographic groups, they could be huge for advertisers hoping to target their
Dr. Pepper/Seven Up is already testing this theory by mining the Blogosphere
to launch an unusual marketing campaign for a new flavored milk drink called
The beverage, currently available in five test markets, is aimed at teens and
young adults, a demographic that has embraced blogging.
To create a buzz about Raging Cow before its national launch, Richards
Interactive culled through 300 blogs to find the ones that appeared most
The teens writing the blogs, including the likes of boymeetslife.com,
italianize.com and sparkley.net, are getting some merchandise and Amazon.com
gift certificates in exchange for testing the milk and expressing their
opinions online during the next few months.
Richards Interactive also created a blog, ostensibly written by the raging cow
herself, punctuated with the slogan, "The Revolution Will Be Homogenized."
"If you read these sites long enough, you see points of intersections where
the opinion makers gather," Copilevitz said. "It's a phenomenon that's not on
the mainstream radar quite yet, but it will be in six months."
The Death Of The Webmaster: Why Weblogs Bring A True
Revolution To Internet Publishing
I am a supporter of the notion of several and well differentiated ways of
using weblogs/CMS technologies and I wish to shed some further light on the
possibly many other valuable applications that exist (for the technologies
powering them)other than the one of running a personal diary online.
Not that this exteriorating of personal rants is completely useless, quite to
the contrary, but it certainly ranks on a different scale on my indicator of
what can make a real difference in the near future.
To make things clear from the beginning, let me say that, as I see it, "blogs"
are one, specialized use of online personal publishing technologies that have
come of age in the very late 90s. Blogs are generally intended as personal
diaries, which are one-man powered Web sites that publish short posts and
articles in a reverse chronological order.
Blogs are also generally recognizable by the use of a few typical online
publishing features which are:
A calendar to access posts
Now, it is perfectly legal, feasible and quite easy to direct the power of the
technology that gave rise to the use of such "blogs" to support many more new
and diversified uses.
To understand that the nature of the technology behind blogs is not intended
"per se" to be exclusively applied for such personal journalling use, one must
look at what was before the blogs and what opportunity the advent of such new
micro-publishing technology brought with itself.
Before the "blogs" era, we were all slaves of our webmasters. Unless you were
yourself one, most people, companies and organizations who wanted to have an
online presence called a Web site, needed sooner or later someone technically
skilled to take care of it for hir (him+her).
It has never been to no-one enjoyment to have to go through through lengthy,
and not intuitive procedures to simply make some new text appear on a certain
page of your site. Though the Frontpages and Tripods have attempted to come to
our rescue we have further understood that Microsoft didn't have a clue about
what we needed and how it should have been built and that advertising banners
are really the most obnoxious partner of an information page.
So, when content management technology started to address individual
publishers and SOHO users, a few incredible things started to become evident:
a) The webmaster (and/or those that claimed control over what/when/how things
are published) can go have a long vacation. Once in a while we will need
him/them, but basically only to build newer and simpler tools that hard-code
the best practices and standards that we will have soon developed.
b) Usability, info architecture and standards-compliant (e.g.: browser
compatibility) issues can be all hard-coded! Eureka! Wow this is simple enough
anyone can understand it. If wise and well selected site/page construction
policies are built/configured into the system, then you need to worry about
c) The independent publisher is in direct contact with the medium. I can
change, adapt and react to the market, to my customers and to what I feel is
best to do in one instant. I have no more need to be mediated by someone else.
I have a direct line to the global airwaves. That's pretty powerful if you
stop to think of it for a second. Whether you make to show up on Google, on
the news or in some thousands news readers worldwide is entirely up to you, as
it is indeed possible (see the Communication Agents Initiative).
d) Overall publication time is now within the range of a few seconds. That is
publication time is "typing time" + one click to Publish online. All other
activities are integrated, embedded, transparent to the user.
e) Search engine marketing and submission services become completely useless.
You can be indexed in Google within 24 hours or less from your publication.
Absolutely no process of submission or application is necessary to show up on
all major search engines (Google, Yahoo) at zero flat cost.
f) Much increased online exposure, visibility and reach are now within the
abilities of individual publishers within much shorter time frames than were
previously required. Through the effective use of weblogging technology, RSS
feeds, news aggregators, news syndication services, smart use of links and
trackbacks any skilled communicator with great ideas or products to sell can
have a real chance at achieving effective communication, learning, marketing
g) Nonetheless the many believers of the opposite an increased ease in loyalty
and credibility can be effectively achieved through a systematic and ethical
approach to quality content publishing, reciprocal linking, trackbacking and
great use of other present-day collaboration and conversational tools
(comments, forums, live conferences, wikis, etc.).
h) The range of applications for these powerful but simple-to-use content
management technologies expands the reach of independent publishers to the
- catalogue publishing,
- art promotion and marketing,
- on-line small shops and knowledge stores,
- information brokering sites with subscription services,
- specialized expert-advice sites,
- independent news reporting,
- online learning environments,
- team-based online project collaboration facilities,
- social entrepreneurship ventures
and much more.
So, you can see how the advent of weblogs, was masqueraded on the surface by
the "bloggers" fad, and completely misunderstood by those who would be most
benefiting from the advent of such technology-based opportunities.
We are ushering into an era in which things are changing at an increasing
faster pace, and where ever more frequently we are looking at reality with an
outdated pair of glasses, so it is difficult for me to anticipate with greater
detail what the appropriate understanding and ethical exploitation of the
above will exactly bring about.
What I can say with some amount of safety, is that I cannot recommend enough
the use of weblog/CMS based technology for both traditional business
applications as well as for those organizations entrenched in publishing
methods that require a seven-day tour before the content even makes it to the
test server. The learning curve for these powerful CMS technologies is
basically none and the cost-effectiveness is several orders of magnitude
better than when working with a full-time webmaster or with an IT/Information
Publishing department that wants to "webmaster" everything you do.