Blogospherical Ballyhoo

From telegram to telnet, from horse messenger to instant messenger — our communications arsenal continues to evolve. Web logs have existed for almost 10 years. So why the surrounding the now-called ?

Buzz

Simply put, the is an interlinked network of web logs. Let me begin by stating that I, too, am resistant to seemingly meaningless buzzwords. To this day, I feel that the CD burning moniker is excessively sexy (violent?) for such a simple process. Another segment of the population resists buzz because it represents the infiltration of an in-crowd. And, just like when their favorite band “sold out”, the public at large now sings the praises of the blogosphere.

At first I found the term laughable — is this simply a case of the general public finally catching up? Back in 1993 I was reading ‘zines via gopher, right around the time Mosaic introduced graphical browsing. And before that I had some BBS experience, so I am no stranger to electronic expression. But this experience causes me not to dismiss blogs, but to appreciate the ensuing evolutionary changes to the web. And I am not alone – the is growing exponentially (The Honorable David Sifry).

Backlinks

Older collaboration platforms such as Usenet, mailing lists, and forums are great tools, but they lend themselves to creating disjoint islands of data. For example, let’s assume that I find an interesting discussion on slashdot. I have no way to connect this discussion to the alt.politics post that inspired it. In turn, the alt.politics post might have used ideas from a post in a political forum. Thus the Slashdot discussion, alt.politics post, and forum post are stripped of their relationships.

Blog software addresses this continuity problem with TrackBack’s, Pingback’s, and backlinks. These are all two-way link mechanisms that allow a site to include links to all sites which refer back to it. This two-way linking allows ideas to flow more freely and the network gains value beyond the sum of it’s parts.

Bios and Blogrolls

Not only does greater connectedness add value to the data, but a new level of metadata becomes available by viewing a blogger’s related posts and fellow bloggers. Attribution in traditional collaboration platforms is largely limited to posts in any particular media, and anything the poster can summarize in a 3-line signature. The again replaces this disconnected data with a stream of ideas, opinions, and other linked bloggers to better identify and engage people of similar interests.

“Beginners”

Pre-blog web outlets are decidedly geek-centric, often requiring some degree of computer expertise to navigate and add content. This too is addressed and it’s associated technologies, which make it easy for people with little computer expertise to write about any topic and still reap the benefits of connecting ideas and people. Case in point – political blogs contributed heavily to making blogging mainstream.

Bottom Line

The by any other name would connect as well. Facilities introduced by the blogosphere are fundamental to a well-connected read-write web, and they’re here to stay. Backlash inevitably follows any major trend, but the end result is undeniable. The Web, the little buzz phrase that could, should not favor the technically inclined. Ideas thrive in a free market, and the blogosphere offers that market. Disclaimer: throughought this writing, I have resisted the urge to discuss evolution. Hard to defend one buzzword while using another :-).

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4 Responses to “Blogospherical Ballyhoo”

  1. JonnyRo says:

    Nice writeup. Even though I have been blogging for over a year now, I havent really delved into the terminology of the blogging culture.

    Right now what i’m lacking most is an easy way to track my comments on other people’s blogs. If I post a comment here, how am I to know when someone replies, without just checking it again.

  2. JonnyRo says:

    Dont forget to set up your blog at Technorati so you can track your blog rank and see what searches your blog comes up under.

  3. John says:

    looks like you’ve been spending more than a few seconds.. hehe 😉

    it’d be too addicting for me, i tell ya!

  4. JonnyRo says:

    Nathan, I’ve noticed the rojo.com add-site badge on a few websites. You should add this to your setup as well to allow rojo feed reader users to easily add your site.

    I would like to do something like this for my Blogger hosted blogs, maybe one that is a composite of both my Information Technology blog and my personal blog.

    I’ve been having a hard time getting readers over to my IT blog, which just chronicles my day to day adventures running IT for a small company (approx 35 users). My goal with that blog was to try to get dialog going between like minded IT managers and myself. Perhaps I should syndicate the links from the IT blog on my main blog web page. We shall see.

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