The Idea Dude


Saturday, October 06, 2007

The dawn of the age of conversation

Joanna, from Confident Writing was asking about role of the written word in the age of New Media. In the new age of conversation, how important were comments and how will we compete with video and other rich media. Lots of room for thought.

I've always thought that blogging has two parts. It is both the activity and the medium. However they are not synonymous even though we regard it as such because of the pervasiveness of standalone platforms like Typepad, Wordpress and Blogger to name a few. It's no wonder that sidebars are filled with widgets that talk, record, show video or your favorite video stream. It doesn't take a leap of faith to realize that it is something that is part of the evolution of the Internet. Blogging is the personalization of the webpage. It is scarcely the best platform for conversation especially when you consider the only tool for that is the venerable comment.

Over at MySpace, conversations has been what made it successful. Even though each member has a blog, it is not the reason why people connect there. It is the simply to hear the conversation of short soundbytes, "Hi how are you" or "happy birthday". Interestly enough, many people maintain a blog outside of MySpace but keep the latter as a place for boosting their profiles. Take a jump to Facebook. There you will see new interaction paradigms starting to emerge everyday. Whether it is being poked, writing on someone's wall, it is letting the community decide how they want to connect to the outside world through a multitude of applications. Something none of the other blogging platforms or MySpace for that matter did particular well.

Today blogging is a conversation paradigm and for the longest while, the only sheriff in town. In a couple of years and maybe sooner, blogging is still relevant but just one page in your playbook. When Joanna asked about the quality of the written word especially when other types of delivery of Twitter are so popular, I thought about the thousands of blogs I've read. Many should never have been blogs. They should have been Twitters. Many comments should never have been blog comments. They should have been writings on someone else's wall. My children use their MSN displayname as placeholders for how they are feeling or what inspires them. Looking at list, I instantly know if they've had a good day or they're particular mad about something at school.

The point being is that we are at the beginning of the age of conversation, but only the beginning. One day we will look back at our history and see blogs like cave drawings and Twitters like scratching on bones. Only several years ago, the Holy Grail of unified messaging was getting our email, fax, instant messaging and sms from one device and one account. Our requirements as hungry Internet citizens have already past that a long time ago. Unified messaging of the 'net is now about how I can manage my IM, Twitters, blog, walls, chatbox and video stream in a consistent and easy way.

And to think when we first started TheGoodBlogs, all I ever wanted to do was own your sidebar...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Vern, thanks for picking up on some of my questions and developing them further.

I agree that we're in a period of rapid evolution and that we'll see things being used in a very different way in the future.

I just hope we can hold on to the quality features of blogs (and the conversations that folllow) as we move into that new order - but I guess it's up to all of us to make that we do.

One thing I was wondering, you say you've seen some things that shouldn't have been blogs or comments - do you have a picture in your mind of what blogs and comments are or should be? Might those kind of definitions help us start to work out what kind of mix of different media - for different purposes - we want to see in the future?


PS I like the ball of string too. I love the way our words connect and turn into something bigger, better, more exciting - even if a bit tangled :-)

5:57 AM  
Blogger The Idea Dude said...

Hi Joanna,

Thanks for starting the conversation over at your blog. As you say it's the getting words connected and turning into something bigger that gets me excited too.

To answer you question, I'm going to do another post! Stay tuned.


9:36 AM  
Blogger anonymous said...

Vern, great thoughts. The way we converse continues to evolve. It's more important than ever to track that evolution closely.

12:44 PM  
Blogger The Idea Dude said...

Hi Easton,

I agree. As active participants we can influence the evolution too.


9:12 PM  

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