durbin media
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Brandstorming is a team blog written by Jim and Franki Durbin. We like to think of it as our idea playground.
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Monday, February 27, 2006

The Difference between Blogs and the Blogosphere

Dismissal of blogging is easy when you consider an individual website. Take Jason Kottke. Long known as the blogger’s blogger, Kottke has recently decided to give up his full-time blog to search for greener pastures. Kottke was a well-linked and well-liked guy, but if he decides to depart from the blogosphere entirely (he says he won't) he would quickly be passed over as new and eager entrants display their skills online.

Kottke, though an important blogger, was not the revolution. His blog was a platform for his ideas, and individually it meant a lot to his readers, but the blogosphere as a whole will quickly replace him. This is because a blog, by itself, is easily dismissed.

The blogosphere is a different story. Blogs are just tools, more effective than user groups or chat rooms or bbs’s, but tools nonetheless. Each blog alone is like a single star in the cosmos – beautiful, interesting, possibly insignificant, maybe soon to be extinguished. The blogosphere in that metaphor is like the heavens. Breathtaking, inspiring, and overwhelming to the human senses. 50,000 posts an hours and 600 billion webpages is a lot of reading, and blog software, from hyperlinks to trackbacks to comments to online communities links it all together.

A blog is just a website of ideas, where comments can be posted, links sent, and passive readers choose to come read the material. They are a good source of niche information about products and people, taken with a grain of salt and for the most part unpaid.

The blogosphere is a network of interconnected sites and people – a series of communities of like-minded activists who are at times scrupulously fair-minded, and alternately libelous and dangerous mobs.

The big mistake most blog critics make is distilling blogs as a phenomenon down into individual websites. The revolution is the system. A worldwide amplifier of everyday conversations that through network laws filters relevant information to the top of the world consciousness. So the only question in my mind, will be who is the next Jason Kottke?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Future of Blogging

The explosion of the “blogosphere” since Jan 2002 (when the term was coined) gives rise to the biggest revolution of printing possibilities since the introduction of Gutenberg’s movable type press for the printing of bibles.

Yes, it is true that the average blog is written by a teenage girl putting her thoughts in an online diary with an average of less than one link – but with 25 million blogs at the last count and growing, the temptation to dismiss these websites as a fad, inconsequential, or at worst the insane ravings of the dissatisfied on the world wide web is a mistake too many companies are currently making.

Newspapers and television news programs have been stung badly by blogs because they failed to take them seriously (CBS, LA Times, NY Times). Politicians on both side of the aisle are finding that blogs amplify the discontent of their constituents, as blogs allow an “alternative” or “new media” message to reach a general public just coming to terms with the idea of personal publishing online.

Corporations have largely avoided this repercussion and are just now dipping their toes into the blogosphere. Currently, an estimated 5% of the Fortune 500 blogs, though even the definition of what can be counted as a company blogger is disputed.

The rise of business blogging is inevitable. The rapid transformation of politics and the media by blogs in 2002-2005 only whetted the appetite of the public. Freedom is a heady feeling, and the ability to publish opinions freely in the largest consumer market in the world is only a step away from the desire to remake American business into a transparent and responsive version of the blogosphere.

2005 was termed the year of the blog. By the end of the 2006, the blog will be part of a larger revolution of how we communicate and build communities online. We want to be a part of that revolution.