Today I got taken to lunch by some people at Ipswitch (makes of WS FTP). It was kind of an very laid back focus group. They had something like seven New York based bloggers and we all sat around tables eating lunch and discussing trends in blogging/podcasting. Bring a bunch of passionate people together and it’s easy to fill a few hours with conversation.
While I was sitting there, though, I realized that I have some different opinions on blogging than other people. I wouldn’t call them more negative, but rather framed a bit differently. In an effort to further expand on my thoughts, here are some of them in writing:
- Blogs are not really going to revolutionize the world. It’s people that will revolutionize it. Blogs are just really good content management systems, the big idea here is that people now have a voice. There’s nothing stopping them from publishing their thoughts, ideas or just what they ate that morning. It’s a medium vs. message issue. We need to stop getting caught up on the word ‘blog’ and start looking at the larger impacts they’re having on culture.
- It’s not a fight between us and them. It’s not big media vs. blogs. There are much larger trends going on in the media landscape for blogs to be a big enough blip on their radar that it’s worth targeting. Blogs are indicative of a larger movement towards unbundling. Once the internet came around it was clear that no one news source is going to provide the entire spectrum of information necessary to make an informed decision.
- People should start thinking about blog design because it generally sucks. It’s not well architected. It’s time to step back and stop thinking about blogs as blogs, but rather think about blogs as websites. Would you ever put an archive of everything ever written on a website on one page? I hope not.
- I’ve mentioned this before, but in the near future people won’t know what’s a blog and what’s not. Increasing large sites are running on software like Movable Type because it’s a cheap content management system. So, as sites increasingly choose blogging platforms to manage their content, how will the world differentiate what’s a blog and what’s not?
- And, more importantly, does it matter if we differentiate what’s a blog and what’s not?
Anyway, just a couple quick ones. Thanks to Ipswitch for the lunch. I think it’s a pretty brilliant idea, I might add. You get a couple of bloggers together in some random city, you buy them lunch (who doesn’t like free food?), they tell you what they think will be the next big thing, you listen. At the end you pay the $100 or $200 for lunch and you’ve saved a bundle on a focus group while at the same time doing a bit of brand marketing for yourself. I mean, there’s no question I’ll think of the company in a whole new (positive) light. (Though I must admit that I’ve always been a huge WS FTP fan anyway . . . although I didn’t realize that was their product until I got there.)