Some views on the blogosystem

JP Rangaswami points me to The Life Cycle of a Blog Post, by Frank Rose, in Wired. It features a large interactive (I guess flash) graphic that places even the icky stuff (such as spam blogs, or splogs) inside the ‘system. I haven’t looked too much at it because I get annoyed by its interactivity. (What’s wrong with one big graphic file I can scroll around?) Still, interesting. When I have time to look at the whole thing with more patience than I have now, I might have more to say about it.

Meanwhile Wired’s Chris Anderson writes,

  Today it’s digital technologies, not electricity, that have become too cheap to meter. It took decades to shake off the assumption that computing was supposed to be rationed for the few, and we’re only now starting to liberate bandwidth and storage from the same poverty of imagination. But a generation raised on the free Web is coming of age, and they will find entirely new ways to embrace waste, transforming the world in the process. Because free is what you want — and free, increasingly, is what you’re going to get.

All good stuff; but missing, or put in different terms, is the because effect — making money because of something rather than with it. I make zero money with blogging. (No advertising. Love that.) But I make more than zero because of blogging. Not enough to make me rich, but enough to make me valuable. And far more than I would make with advertising alone.

And the value I create isn’t just for me. I see what I do here as a positive contribution to the world: open prose that’s like open code: simply useful. Or, in other terms, NEA: something Nobody owns, Everybody can use and Anybody can improve.

At its best, anyway. Some of what I write, I’m sure, is useless. But most of the time I’m at least trying to do something helpful. I think all the best bloggers, like the best programmers, the best builders, the best Wikipedia contributors, all try to do that. Whether they sell it or not.

Telco 2.0 visits the same subject with The Two-Sided Business Model.

Trendwatching has been into the Free Thing as well. Their detailed and interesting post on the matter is Free Love.

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9 Responses to Some views on the blogosystem

  1. Doc, thank you. I’m trying to encourage more people in the company I work for to blog. There’s a small group of us and sometimes they need encouragement. Your three paragraphs referencing the Because Effect might be just what they need.
    Blogs are a great example of the change in production models we’re seeing – the shift from created at and by the centre, to created in and by the network. In the case of blogs its ‘content’. And we get to be the distributors too.
    One reason I now suggest people should blog is because it gives them the opportunity to live in the environment they must adapt to – and it’s pretty tough to adapt if you don’t live in the environment.

  2. Mike Warot says:

    Doc, I’m wondering what comes next… subscribing to searches is interesting, but there’s got to be another way. Keyword searches are too crude.

  3. Next? Expressions of interest are next.

    Express a set of interests, and a dedicated micro-web agglomerates just for those interests (collected from the big web). Have as many sets as you want, e.g. spaghetti westerns, cigars, firearms, Claudia Cardinale, mexican fashion, etc.

    Think of a combination of RSS feeds and subscribed searches with a look-ahead cache (not forgetting anti-splog).

    A bonus feature is that these micro-webs also get served from your PC/notebook via wifi thus providing reading material for anyone else in your vicinity (and potential source material for their agglomerations).

  4. Doc Searls says:

    I’d just like everything posted to be tagged on the upstream, go into a virtual directory and searchable like a database.

  5. Mike Warot says:

    Doc, that was usenet… everything had a category… and it worked well until it got spammed out of usefulness. I’d agree it’s a good idea, but there has to be some way to tie identity/reputation into it to prevent the return of spam.

    Blogs work because they have an implicit identity tied into them, and as long as you maintain your own list of sources, spam isn’t much of an issue.

    When you get rid of the identity by only using search results… spam creeps back in (which Google and others have an ongoing fight against). If we could tie Google to our own lists of sources (or some elses list)… we could really cut the noise.

    We need to mash up search vs identity (or search vs trust) in order to make this usable, and spam free.

  6. What we can do, a computer can do – today or tomorrow.

    We know this because we are computers.

    Our computers may not yet be as good as us, but their improvement is inexorable.

  7. Doc, have just started an experiment of my own in VRM. I want to buy a car. I’m posting about it on my blog and waiting to see how many clued up dealers, or friends of dealers, or friends of friends of friends of dealers, are using the tools that are available to them?

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