Death rumors of blogosphere are greatly exaggerated


Nick Carr is usually insightful over at Rough Type, but he’s missed the point of blogging if he thinks the best of the medium is behind us. On the contrary I think the real promise of blogging – as well as the web in general – is yet to come.

Why are the rumors of the death of the blogosphere greatly exaggerated even while the medium is still improving? Because things are not happening in the structured way articulate and/or elite information folks often prefer.

Rather we see regular folks sharing their observations, sometimes in inspired ways but often just as part of a growing amateur and untuned symphony of insights.   Although it is *certainly* true to note how much more crappy material there is out there than there was a few years ago before blogging went “mainstream”, it’s also true there is much more good material – it’s just become harder to find.

The good stuff is now distributed across such a large space and within massive comment streams that we need to build better blog search rather than a big blog mortuary.

I think folks like Nick are also correctly noting that the big blogs – thanks to big money – have become much worse because they now pander to large audiences with a lot of fluff pieces and filler.   Often the original writers with unique and interesting voices are eclipsed at their own blogs by hired hacks who offer either quirky irrelevant views or inferior insights to the original.  Part of the problem here is that writing has become commoditized at money blogs such that the spoils are reserved for the owners not the current writers.  Ergo, formerly first class blog writing becomes…second class.

These speed bumps in my view will ultimately work themselves out and we’ll see the “real” voices (Nick Carr’s blog above is a great example) gradually gain more of a  following at the expense of those who simply push out more information for the sake of a larger footprint.    For me, blogs that have lost their appeal even as they gained in theoretical “valuations” were Searchblog by John Battelle and TechCrunch by Mike Arrington.    Both remain “good” sources of information with “good” writing, but before these were *great* blogs with great new insider voices.    I think this is the problem Nick and many others are worried about without justification.   On TV you can only change the channel so many times before you are back at the same old junk.  On the internet there are more channels than minutes in a lifetime.

Mashup Camp and Convergence08


Looking forward to two upcoming conferences – Mashup Camp and the very first Convergence 08 conference.

Mashup Camps have been coming to Mountain View for over two years, bringing great startups for their product launches as well as lively discussions about innovations and new products to help the mashup community. There also will be mashup experts from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Amazon, and many more key players. Programmable Web has the best coverage of the Mashup topic.

Convergence will have even more provocative content as the first conference to address the intersection of four technologies likely to shape the world in extraordinary ways: Nanotechnology, Biological technologies (gene splicing, stem cells, DNS mapping, life extension) , Information technologies (internet and computing) and Cognitive technologies. This last would, I think, broadly include everything from brain enhancing drugs and devices to artificial intelligence. AI is the most exciting category for me, and I remain convinced that we’ll see conscious computers within about 20 years – hopefully and very possibly less. Conscious computing is likely to change the entire planetary game to such a degree it’s nearly impossible to predict what will happen *after that*, which is one of the issues that will be discussed at the conference.

My main concern is that proponents and predictions keep things real and this does not become a sort of brainstorming session for half-baked ideas and ideologies.

After millions of years of very slow biological evolution we’ve now entered a new age where technology is likely to eclipse most and probably all of our human abilities. Even that fairly obvious idea – which simply is an extension of current developments – leaves many people skeptical, cold to the idea, or even antagonistic about the changes that are coming. Like it or not … we are all in this together and it’s best to keep it that way as much as possible.