10 Years of Blogging – Where we are now? Where we may be in the Future

Posted by Rahul Sethi on 9:51 PM

I read my first blog about 4 years ago. A few of my friends had signed up on MSN Spaces and Blogger and decided that it was incredibly funny to put in anecdotes of their personal lives – be it their girlfriends, their drunken escapades or just some random football match, which they thought was ‘newsworthy’.

A blog is an ongoing narrative – updated by a user or a group of users.

To continue my story – I noticed that the blogs my friends had were extremely restrictive in nature – they had a niche audience, niche content. That essentially led the immature me to believe that blogs did not really have the potential for too much reach.

That was till I accessed what is think is the richest blog in terms of political content – www.riverbendblog.blogspot.com. I was directed to the blog by a friend – who himself had been directed by a friend. Soon all my friends were recommending the blog to anyone they knew who was remotely interested in the Internet.

There were a few learnings I took back from Riverbend Blog:

- It was consistent in content (quite different from the randomness I experienced on the other blogs I read)

- It was something that concerns individuals

- I actually felt like I was gaining something (generic benefits – for all those who may be reading my ongoing series)

- It was extremely personal, yet in a sense objective.

The key to note here is that blogs have the ability to connect with users on a very intimate level.

There are other macro social changes that blogging has brought about in terms of the Media Space:

- Content is not top down anymore. Not only do news makers, the news media, and ‘the big guys’ create content.

- There are no barriers to entry if you have a brain, a computer, and an internet connection.

- The consumers will essentially be as big creators of content as the ‘creators of content as we currently know them.

- The ‘control’ in terms of who owns the share of voice in the media is changing.

The Blogging revolution must not in no way be confused with the Social Networking phenomenon.

The obvious similarities between blogging and social networking are that both are platforms where consumers are the creators of content.

Social networks however, work on a platform where that content automatically becomes a property of the Owner of the network and hence they can generate data about existing users, target them with ads, and keep all the revenue.

With blogs however, the content rights lie with the creator. Ads can be placed by the creator – and the revenue is also all for the creator.

With blogging, Corporate Blogging too has taken precedence. Corporate blogs are giving established companies and obscure brands alike the ability to connect with their audiences on a more personal level, build trust, collect valuable feedback and foster strengthened business relationships. More importantly, these companies are enjoying tangible returns in their blogging investment in the form of increased sales, partnerships, business opportunities, press coverage and lead generation.

In a sense, the blogging revolution has also created the marketing sub category of Viral Marketing. As I said earlier – a genuine blogger writes with the enthusiasm and orientation to provide value and connect with his or her audience. The blogger shares useful and engaging content —the latest information, help, discussion topics and ideas. The way audiences responds to that content is key. When customers start commenting, posting or tracking back to a blogging community, it can have a viral effect —spreading out across the blogosphere. And trust me – the unique engagement that blogs provide essentially spreads to all corners of the World.

Here are what I think are the Most Key Technical Developments in the Blogging Scenario so Far:

- Content Management – making it easier to upload content, making it quicker, enabling, the posting of video, photos, and other value adds that make the user hooked.

- AdWords – Quality MUST be paid for.

- RSS Feeds – Synchronize what you read. Get more from one location. Know what blogs are doing without taking the time to actually visit them.

- Trackbacks – people who link to your article can be tracked down – you can connect with people who think on similar lines. Creating a virtual mesh of individuals.

In the future, I think there will be a few changes in the Blogging Scenrio:

- Blogging as we currently know it may have a complete overhaul. There will be less text – theres a certain amount of tediousness with text – I see more multimedia related content.

- We already are seeing ‘video blogs’ on platforms such as YouTube where people have their own shows.

- One may also see a lot of MoBloggers – people blogging from their mobiles as mobiles generate capability – random observations, pictures, videos perhaps. I also think that with the advent of MoBlogging, blogs will become even more personal and interactive than they ever were.

- I think there will be 2 ends of the spectrum. 1 of the casual mobile bloggers or casual internet bloggers, and 2nd of the Specialized bloggers such as WATBlog, TechCruch, Alootechie etc. So that differntiation between specialist and generalist will be even more clear in the future and you may even have tools to differentiate the two.

I think the trends of team blogs for specialized blogs will multiply.

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