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Summary:

Blogging has evolved, becoming more than just a source of straight information or opinion, but of rich context. But that’s not enough. Blogs need to evolve further, to become open, more social — to reflect more accurately our dynamic, real-times lives.

istock_000006184805xsmall Dave Winer’s ability to peer into the future is uncanny. He was talking about a river of news long before the current activity streams became popular. He was evangelizing RSS long before there were blogs. I could go on and on about his prescient observations, but it’s his warnings that are especially prophetic.

For as long as I can remember, he’s been warning that users of new social web technologies need to be in control of their own destiny. He sounded the alarm about Feedburner and how it was hijacking an open standard, RSS, and inserting itself between content creators and consumers. And he’s long cited the need for open social communication platforms, often voicing his displeasure with newer services such as Twitter.

People have ignored Winer at their own peril, as two events over the last week have made clear. First was the shutdown drama around a little-known URL-shortening service called Tr.im. While it’s since been resurrected, the incident showed me how by championing these URL-shortening services, we’re essentially putting the entire link economy in the hands of companies that are skating on thin ice during the peak of summer.

Second was FriendFeed becoming a Mark Zuckerberg Production thanks to a $50 million buyout by Facebook. The likelihood of Zuckerberg & Co. shutting down the upstart social aggregation service has brought into the spotlight the misalignment between the needs of online communities and the companies that provide them.

The cynical me believes that it’s foolish for any of us to expect that Web 2.0 companies be in the business of providing services for charity. They are, after all, for-profit entities and when opportunity arises, everyone looks out for themselves. That’s just the way of the world. But somewhere between my cynicism and people’s Utopian desires lies a happy place. It’s called the blog.

Blogging: The Evolution

Late last year, following the Bombay terrorist attacks, I wrote about Twitter’s growing influence as a source of breaking news and how, in order to make sense of it all, we need more context. The best place to provide that context is now in blogs. To be sure, most people view Twitter as a microblogging service, but I’ve always seen it as micromessaging service — and the more I used it, the more I realized what a disjointed conversation it can produce.

As Twitter has become increasingly ingrained in our everyday lives, its value as as source of information tidbits has become clear. Think of it like that plate of chips and salsa you get before the entree arrives: tasty — spicy, even — but not entirely satisfying. Meanwhile, blogging has become the main course — the source of context. And the evolution into that role has injected new life into the blogosphere.

Earlier this week, while at dinner with Matt Mullenweg (Disclosure: Matt, a close friend of mine, started Automattic, whose WordPress platform powers our network. Both Automattic and the GigaOM Network are backed by True Ventures, where I am also a venture partner.), we talked about how many amazing blog posts we’ve read in just the past month alone, such as:

And these are just the ones that I hastily jotted down on the back of the dinner receipt. Now it would be easy for “blogging” to be satisfied with this information-sharing role. But that won’t be enough. Blogs need to evolve even further.

Why? Because the nature of content sharing (call it publishing) and content consumption is changing.

Blogging needs to be social. There are many reasons for this, but the most important one — in my mind — is the changing nature of content. “We will all be streaming life moments as more and more bandwidth is available both at home and on the go,” I wrote two years ago. It’s already happening. Today most of us walk around with newfangled smartphones that are nothing short of multitasking computers, essentially content creation points. And they’re networked, which means creating and sharing content is becoming absurdly simple to do. With the increased number of content creation points –- phones, camera, Flip video cameras, Twitter -– we are publishing more and more content.

Most of this content is disjointed, like random atoms. In the past, I (and others) have referred to this as the atomization of content. These atoms need to be brought together in order to make sense. But while many have argued that self-hosted Facebook- or FriendFeed-styled services could fill this role, I disagree. As I’ve said in the past, “We have two choices in order to consolidate these — either opt for all-purpose services such as Facebook (as tens of millions have done) or use our blogs as the aggregation point or hub for all these various services.”

The Next Step

Millions of Facebook users will have no reason to use any other service for the foreseeable future. And even when they decide to leave, they’ll realize they can’t, for they’ll have stored their photos and videos into the service, which has no visible way of exporting such data. It’s the ultimate lock-in: control consumers’ data and you control everything.

For others — whom I would loosely define as “power users” — today’s blogging software and services are the best option for becoming a repository of our digital creations, because they are more open, more extensible and at the end of the day, give us more control. Chris Messina, a technology evangelist, has been promoting this vision for nearly two and a half years, including starting a project dedicated to it called DiSo.

What Facebook and FriendFeed have shown is that people want to consume and publish content in a more dynamic fashion — more in real time, so to speak.

At the risk of repeating myself, I will quote from a previous post. “As a society, we are entering an increasingly narcissistic phase, enabled by web technologies…The evolution of blogging platforms needs to match these societal and demographic changes.” What I meant was that blogging platforms need to evolve from the hierarchical content-management systems of today to more fluid, free-flowing, more socially relevant and real-time lifestreaming systems.

Two services — Posterous and Tumblr — are taking a shot at this. WordPress, with its P2 theme, has showed that it’s thinking along these lines as well; we tried it out with the GigaOM Daily plugin. But these are not enough. There needs to be more real-time collaboration built into these systems. They need to become socially relevant. They need to take into account that today, consumption and creation happen not just on traditional computing systems like a laptop, but also on highly mobile devices. Imagine the volume of information we’re going to create and consume when we have broadband speeds on our on-the-go devices.

The next generation of blogging systems needs to account for the fact that information — and most importantly, conversations — flow via email, Twitter, instant messages and other formats. In order to do that, the innards of blogging systems need to be rethought. Perhaps the older, relational database models will need to be replaced by more nimble data stores. We may see XMPP become the layer that facilitates collaboration and real-time communications. But these are complex topics for my more esteemed colleagues to tackle, the ones who are builders and creators. I am merely a thinker, who is firm in his belief that this real-time social collaboration is a powerful force, and blogging, if it wants to move further forward, needs to embrace it.

  1. Totally agreed. Can’t wait to see this happen. For the meantime we’re stuck with a weird system that isn’t all that great. By the way, I saw this article on Twitter first.

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    1. Robert,

      I think we have a habit of assuming that one form of media/communication will win over the other. But reality is that the media adapts and learns to co-exist. I think Twitter is a great platform that makes Blog creation and discovery better.

      I am hoping to see your next post about this soon :-)

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      1. This is the key Om. I think because we have had Windows since what seems to be the dawn of time, now, we all think that one prevailing method will “win out”, and such is not the case. We will see degrees of popularity, but so many other technologies adapt, that the technology is like all business, abundant and diverse.

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  2. Great post, Om, and thanks for the high praise. I think in short, blogs are going to do what they always do: Decentralize giant networks that have become unresponsive to the needs of their users and audiences. Today’s mainstream social networks look a lot like yesterday’s mainstream media — they might well face the same pressure from blogs that their predecessors did.

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    1. Great post, Om and Anil, yours was great too hoping that Six Apart is working to bring us this vision.

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  3. the blogs are a dynamic social graph/relationships with constantly new context vs. the static ‘click to friend’ alternatives which assume a past context….

    if clueful sorts figure out a way to evolve and capture these kinetics, and become a context-ful repository of it, they will become as pervasive/permanent as any other format of social interaction online, real-time.

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    1. rohit

      totally agreed. I think this is what you and i have talked in the past about and now i think the time is right.

      i am pretty sure one of the smart ones will figure out an answer to this and we will all benefit.

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  4. Great ariticle. I’ve also been concerned about the same data being sent all over the web without it being normalized. What we need is what you call a data store, and what I call a relational database, where we can store once and read many times. There are too many islands of information where our data now lives. In my simplist example, if I create a video and send it out to 10 sites to distribute it widely, what happens when I need to change it?

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  5. [...] messaging. Before committing money to these activities, I’d strongly recommend anyone to read Om Malik’s thoughtful piece about the evolution of blogging. His sweep across the social computing landscape is instructive for those looking at where to put [...]

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  6. Om, I completely agree and have been pondering this same issue for some time. Blog software paved the way for personal publishing, and social networks have accelerated our virtual and IRL connections and conversation. Twitter’s popularity stems from its immediacy and inherent ease of use: go to one place and see what’s happening. So easy that it’s taken over our RSS reading habits. The problem with the ecosystem is that it’s a competition between startup companies/services. As you point out, our conversations and our content are locked-in depending on the service we use. Even aggregating this output on our own blogs isn’t enough. What I want (and have done some sketches for) is a self-installable system where I create my content (text, photos, videos, links, etc) and selectively push that content to the greater ecosystem as digital copies. I maintain and create the “write” privileges to my content, allowing social networks to “read” the digital copy. It’s certainly an evolution of blogging, but I like to think of it as a personal user platform. Create once, own the content, distribute widely, receive real-time incoming conversations and connections in my dashboard.

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    1. Emily

      What a pleasant surprise to see you back here. Yes, it is almost like back to the future again. I remember talking about this with you three years ago when we were doing GigOM first edition. I think little distractions are what happened.

      I think we have talked about this but now it is time to make this happen. perhaps you will share your sketches and help trigger the movement. I think what this needs is the involvement of smart doers like yourself. I can only hope that this will happen.

      Also can you elaborate on the write/read aspect. I think it is worth exploring.

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    2. Maybe the consumer is ready for an open format to store personal data and new services to provide storage, management and access to it. The consumer would first choose a place to store their data and then a network/site/etc to connect a portion of that to, thus retaining their “stuff” while being portable.

      In this context, the control shifts to an individual essentially managing an api to their stuff.

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      1. A Personal API…. a great idea imho. Perhaps Google Wave would be a good place to try it out where I “set” what others can or cannot see/sync. Same goes for two way interaction with socialblogs, tweets, friendfeeds, etc etc…

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      2. I have been reading The New York Times, The Nation, Time and Newsweek, since they were first made available OnLine. In fact back-in-the-day, the NYTimes.com would only make [today's] issue available OnLine. If one needed even yesterdays cyberIssue, they would have to pay for it. We were also required to pay for the “Opinions” page — obviously because the ThePaper understood our ‘addiction’ to them. I am not in the least bit opposed to well-researched/well-written, responsible-for-every-word type newsprint (in paper form); but I do more so enjoy pulling up the page, article, or even AD I desire at the moment–OnLine; then clicking-off when I am finished with: The’Paper’. I will only purchase physical ‘Paper(s)’ when something [collection]-ready, (like the day President Obama is sworn-in for example,) is published.

        ps: You’ll notice I’m sure that most Charge/Debit Cards, (including AmEx) are recently asking/demanding that we click-to-receive our Monthly Statements–OnLine. This OnLine (flip) has become the wave of the future, not so unlike a number of other contemporary SocioPhysical “happenings”!

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      3. Great article by Om, and a very interesting conversation.

        While there is a lot of emphasis on real-time content creation and sharing, also on binding the various atoms of content, there has not been sufficient attention paid to content ownership and portability. Indeed facebook represents the ultimate lock-in. Not that lock-ins are necessarily bad, but portability is almost always necessarily good. A “personal API” (as you call it) is indeed what is needed, a mechanism (service) that separates content ownership from presentation.

        Are “content vaults” – web services that offer (web-scaled) structured content hosting services – to popular presentation engines (think of the brand equity of facebook ) – a new business opportunity that can drive the world of blogging to the next level?

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  7. [...] our rants, and leave comments (even the shitty ones!)  We really appreciate it. We know there are countless other blogs out there to occupy your time and we’re honored that you’d give ours even a few minutes of your [...]

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  8. Interesting post Om. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about the issue of blogging and how it’s lagging in relevance to the increasing importance and integration of “lifestreaming”. To me, I’m still not buying it. I don’t think blogging and lifestreaming are supplementary but rather complementary. I think there’s space and importance in both.

    Perhaps the answer doesn’t lie in services that cover all angles within itself, but rather in services that enable you to simultaneously cover all angles from an external “control panel”. Ping.fm is a very simple version of the kind of concept that I am thinking about. Postling.com is taking it one step further, with a focus for business. Ever past that, I think that traditional blogging is still very relevant, but are no longer the only efficient method to provide content.

    Lifestreaming is important, and perhaps blogs need to be slightly altered to better accommodate for these new trends, but to completely replace services like wordpress with services like tumblr and posterous, would do a disservice to our communities and communications.

    @DavidSpinks

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  9. Making blogging more nimble as a platform is all well and good but I think the takeaway here is that blogging will continue to become less like a lecture hall and more like a cocktail party. The structure of the traditional blog post, including this one, isn’t designed to be free-flowing, it’s designed to worship the blogger. The responses are at the bottom, not the top and all of them can be ignored. Twitter is the opposite. This isn’t to say that one style is better than the other, both are important, but I think you can guess, when given a choice between a lecture and a cocktail party, where you will spend most of your time.

    Twitter also has many problems, I go into it here:
    http://codybrown.name/2009/08/06/myspace-is-to-facebook-as-twitter-is-to-______/

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    1. Whoops. I read the middle of your piece *after* I posted this comment. “Blogs need to be more Social” We are on the same page. (a good way to start would be to install Disqus so I could have edited the above comment)

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  10. >>… “Blogs Need to Be More Social”

    agreed, altho i think you could just simplify that to: “The Web Needs to be More Social”.

    to which i would respond: absolutely, and services like Facebook Connect (which i’m using here on your blog Om… however it appears there’s a problem — got an error on posting) are a straightforward way to do this. similarly Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, and even Google & Yahoo & Hotmail acct logins are too. and i’m assuming from your post, you’re foreshadowing that WordPress will finally be rolling out some of its own social mojo soon (i hope).

    that said, the variation & implementation on Social is what makes it interesting. it can be done well, or it can be done poorly. with luck, we will see more of the former, and less of the latter.

    Let’s Get Social :)

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  11. Om,
    I don’t think it’s just blogging that is getting a new lease on life (I started to realize it was getting interesting again over the last couple of months of watching one or another interesting blog post go up, followed by a very interested and interesting insta-community around the post as people there would debate the issues for several days.) It’s very gratifying after 7 yrs of blogging myself, and seeing myself get very discouraged the past couple of years, to find it becoming very important and relevant to me again. It’s permanent, searchableness and slow thoughtfulness just make it so much more relevant long term (that being like 3 days on the internet).

    Also.. I don’t just think that facebook will for the time being keep users as will twitter for now, but that these services will become less interesting later as we all become publishers and commenters of all sorts of content and interactions in our own data bank as these are developed and made “everyday” for regular people. I have a post i’ve been working on for two years (the diagram mostly but the post started a year ago.) I think it’s time to finish it and get it out there. I’m far more motivated now that blogging has returned for me and taken my imagination and conversation again.

    mary

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  12. Great post, indeed, Om. It struck a real chord with me for several reasons, including this one: I spent several hours researching these questions today. “When did retweeting emerge?” and “When did people start using the @ symbol for directing their tweets?” I could do my own social media archeology in Plaxo, since I am connected with tons of early adopters there, and because Plaxo aggregates and surfaces the entire history, back to 2007. We need open standards for interoperability, user control, and data portability.

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  13. “The next generation of blogging systems needs to account for the fact that information — and most importantly, conversations — flow via email, Twitter, instant messages and other formats. In order to do that, the innards of blogging systems need to be rethought. Perhaps the older, relational database models will need to be replaced by more nimble data stores. We may see XMPP become the layer that facilitates collaboration and real-time communications.”

    That description sounds quite like Google Wave to me. Right down to the reference to XMPP! :-)

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    1. Libran Lover,

      Elements of what Google Wave is doing are going t show up in pretty much everything. I mean, why not – that is the right way forward and I have talked about it for almost four years. Nevertheless, Google Wave has its own sets of issues and challenges.

      I guess, I remain cautiously skeptical of the product, wildly optimistic about the technology.

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  14. Good post. Why not go one step forward and try to create a set of posts on what you think the web experience will look like in 3-5 years. There are a lot of interesting forces in play: facebook + facebook connect, blog + personal publishing, twitter + its eco system, google + igoogle + reader, browsers (firefox, chrome, facebook). At the same time, the amount of information is increasing and to your point about narcism, users want an experience which is centered around them, their topics of interests, the sources they trust, their social networks. In this post you are talking about how the blogs need to evolve. Part of that evolution needs to be about better integrating into the personal experiences users want.

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on what the web experience will look like in 3-5 years!

    Edwin

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    1. Edwin

      I am absolutely flattered that you want to hear more of my thoughts on this. And I will try and live up to your expectations.

      Summer is supposed to be slow months. Maybe I will use it to work on that thesis.

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  15. Om, Ironically, with all the insightful comments from your readers, this post IS a collaborative build.

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    1. Collaboration is the new black. The more we co-create the more we learn. Why do you think I left my job as an old media guy to be a full time blogger ;-)

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  16. Fantastic article, thank you. Steven Rubel, by going all Posterous recently (even renaming his blog a lifestream http://www.stevenrubel.com), has shown to many how blogging should be more integrated without hassle. Still, content cannot be self-hosted, opening the possibility of a tr.im-like drama.

    I’ve been on the wordpress platform for so long, and having how-so-many widgets residing on the sides doesn’t make it more social, it just makes it a link machine and messy in its design.

    Initiatives from Disqus or JS-Kit ECHO go some way towards integrating the discussion, but it yet doesn’t make the platform more social, as it focuses on the sharing of the discussion but not on the daily content.

    Google Reader seems to have finally woken up a little by adding social features, but it still cannot, in my book, be the center of my daily informational journey, just a platform to aggregate sources.

    Using lifestreaming properties, like Friendfeed, Facebook or soup.io cannot cut it either.

    There really need to be a new platform that allows for a pure integration of the social web. Integrating content through social interactions and multi-layered data inputs, redistributing it.

    Again, the closest to reach this with ease is Posterous today. It’s far from perfect and won’t please heavy bloggers that want customizations, but if the content is what matters, it shouldn’t be such a problem.

    I haven’t moved my blogging there, but I’m seriously considering it.

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  17. Om,

    “Millions of Facebook users will have no reason to use any other service for the foreseeable future. And even when they decide to leave, they’ll realize they can’t, for they’ll have stored their photos and videos into the service, which has no visible way of exporting such data.”

    It wasn’t that long ago that AOL thought the same thing… Consumers web services are not only forced to provide a free or mostly free service to their constituents and keep them happy in a public forum, but they have the ironic additional burden of constantly having to innovate just to keep up with what’s about to be cool. :-)

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    1. David,

      Agreed, but I think this one has far more momentum than AOL ever had. I think the # of people on Facebook is staggering and is causing all kinds of network effects.

      Facebook’s challenge will be to walk the thin line between open web and its closed web. I think that is going to define the fate of their company.

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  18. ‘The idea that they’re going to go back to the past to hit a big home run…is delusional,’ says Dave Winer”

    Uncanny. Someone like Winer makes predictions every week. He never allows you to forget when he’s right, we never hear the wrong ones again, unless they’re published.

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  19. Food for thought, and for late-night coding sessions. :)

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    1. Ma.tt I hope this translates into socialpress? And can I take credit for it if you do indeed use that name ;-)

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      1. Seems like that’s what BuddyPress is all about. Looks like he’s already got the name sorted out. ;)

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  20. [...] The Evolution of Blogging by Om Malik. ¶ [...]

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  21. [...] most important reason is the one Om Malik cleary states in its The Evolution of Blogging article: Blogging needs to be social. There are many reasons for this, but the most important one [...]

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  22. The promise of Social Media is the true democratization of information …

    Blogs need to become an interactive mashup of content – not only able to pull in the various content (pictures, video, presentations, podcasts) but that content needs to have the ability to interactive with each other. If you truly want more social – it would be like presenting ideas in a meeting room with a whiteboard, projector, speaker phone, etc. where you can react to questions and feedback to clarify, change and even outright reverse some of your original thoughts.

    BTW if you go back and read Tim Berners-Lee thoughts on where the web was heading, and even his latest TED presentation, you can glean some interesting insights.

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    1. Tony:frosty

      Thanks for the tip on Tim Berners-Lee. It was a fun presentation and I have seen this quite a few time.

      But watching it again helped clear up some of my own thoughts as well.

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  23. [...] most important reason is the one Om Malik cleary states in its The Evolution of Blogging article: Blogging needs to be social. There are many reasons for this, but the most important one [...]

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  24. Excellent and very timely post. In summary, it’s about owning and housing the content on something you can control.

    I’m working with several people on building a niche advertising network and the one thing I commonly hear – why bother, just have the content creators use Facebook and split the revenue.

    Who knows if FB will be around long term. GeoCities was the “next big thing” for personal homepages and now gone. Homepage.com is gone as well.

    I would view social services such as FB and Twitter as efficient distribution platforms for the content.

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  25. Apples and Oranges? Years ago I did some analysis of communication in terms of author and reader, on a 3 by 3 matrix, where each side was One-Few-Many. The Blog in terms of long form text, One-To-Few never went away and still has it’s place. What’s really puzzling is that the big social networks didn’t provide a solution to meet this need. What’s mildly puzzling is how we all got addicted to Twitter’s short form One-To-Few solution and forgot that some thoughts need more than 140 characters to express.

    And then there’s the problem that Blogging never solved. The real sweet spot is in Few-To-Few conversations. The kind of thing that ought to develop in the comments section of a blog. But look at this, right here. Having written this rant, I will probably never come back to read any replies, and will probably never even know if there are any. Just like Twitter, it will be an example of Write-Only media. If we’re going to de-centralise this stuff we really need to solve this problem that we had back in 2002. How do I stay involved in the conversation when it’s happening in a hundred places at once? And note here: “Notify me of follow-up comments via email.” doesn’t cut it when email’s broken, or when the reply might be on FC, FF, some other blog post, a random comment on some other blog post, twitter, socialmedian, or wherever.

    So think on this, Om, people really do want to converse in small groups. Those small groups come together out of mutual interest in some topic. And we’ve moved through the mailing list, usenet, chat rooms, Twitter follow, distributed blogs and blog comments, social media site clubs/groups, phpBB sites and many other atttempts but they’re all broken (and all still going).

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  26. Hi Om

    Thanks for writing that all up, I enjoyed it.

    You probably wont be surprised to hear that I think a part (not all) of the answer can come from a better underlying storage architecture. From my POV, a lot of problems arise from the fact that we don’t have a global sharable store that lets each of us contribute to the same underlying objects. I agree that any such store (whether managed by a company, by the community, etc) has to be open and allow for easy export.

    Such an architecture doesn’t give you a direct answer, but it provides a framework that lots of interesting (and, I claim, more natural) solutions can be built on top of. This is the “more nimble data stores” approach, as you put it. One way to look at it is to say that such a data store would make the *data* social by putting related data in the same place. And because people and apps could add to the underlying objects (blog posts, emails (a bit like Google wave), web pages, etc), such a nimble store would allow the unanticipated – allow the kind of evolution you also mention.

    And (you knew it was coming…) we’ve spent years trying to build something with these characteristics, FluidDB. I’ll again emphasize that it’s not *the* answer, but it does point out an interesting direction. We’re releasing an alpha this Monday (Aug 17). We also plan to open source it (and yes, we’ll all believe that when we see it.)

    Terry

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  27. [...] was alerted to Om Malik’s post about the evolution of blogs through a Twitter micro-message, a Tweet, by Jon Husband. Om says: “Today most of us walk [...]

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  28. [...] tips newsletter, and be the first to know.Thanks for visiting!Today I read a great blog post titled The Evolution of Blogging by Om Malik. According to Om, blogging needs to evolve because the nature of content sharing or [...]

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  29. Om, A bit surprised that you havent referenced Laconi.ca & Open Micro Blogging in this post. These are initiatives that are trying to address the problem.

    The biggest hurdle for Laconica has been the skinning, but they are starting to address it in 0.8.x release.

    A lot more needs to happen on this front, but the time is ripe.

    Good post.

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  30. Going forward, collaboration and communications that happen over the social layer is going to play a key role here. And you’ve hit the right spot.

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  31. I’ve long discounted the mundane prophecies that microblogs or social network updates are going to replace blogs.

    As of now, they are more LinkCasting more that anything else. It is difficult to have a meaningful conversation on those thing in its present state.

    My vote of all these things goes to the humble blog. The moot fact is- blogs not only provide context but have critique and references. Many of them not necessarily news oriented or time bound. Blogs ceased to be hierarchical content management platforms a long long time ago.

    To me blogs have morphed into Social Influence Aggregators. And not without the help of
    third party add ons. A person’s social influence is distributed across many platforms today (sort of what you say atomization of content, but here I am talking about aggregated Social Influence) and the blog acts as the best single aggregation platform.

    As a matter of fact, blogs are content platforms and Social Influence aggregation platforms weaved in one.

    It is just the latter part that requires free flowing, fluid real time lifestreaming. The content part that critiques, analyses and thought essays are timeless though.

    Shalabh Pandey
    http://chasingthestorm.com

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  32. “Blogging platforms need to evolve from the hierarchical content-management systems of today to more fluid, free-flowing, more socially relevant and real-time lifestreaming systems.”

    I couldn’t agree more. I blogged about the future of blogging here:
    http://www.andreavascellari.com/?p=2938

    Andrea

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  33. [...] As Om Malik says, Dave Winer has again sounded a couple of his prophetic warnings. Both of which seem to point back to the importance of the evolution of blogging. [...]

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  34. [...] Designs For Inspiration Pro Blog Design Learn how to play an instrument online Webware – CNET The Evolution of Blogging 6 jQuery growl-like notification systems webtoolkit4.me 50 Amazing Ramen Noodle Recipes Carsonified [...]

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  35. [...] For others — whom I would loosely define as “power users” — today’s blogging software and services are the best option for becoming a repository of our digital creations, because they are more open, more extensible and at the end of the day, give us more control. —Om Malik [...]

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  36. Good thoughts. Wrote about the same thing — on the blogging front — a short time ago,

    It’s Time to Bring “Old” Blogs into the Real-time Web

    http://www.technosight.com/its-time-to-bring-old-blogs-into-the-real-time-web/

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  37. I suffer from CADD – content attention deficit disorder – caused by the Twitter Paradox where I read more, yet I read less.

    Good long form often has sections worth discussing. How do we focus on just paragraph 7 or add to the list of influential posts of the month?

    If I were to create a social commentary platform, here’s my wish list:
    1. The post is chunked into discrete ideas and thoughts.
    2. Chunks can be ranked and commented on individually; imagine side bar conversations by paragraph.
    3. Conversations can be spawned at any point
    4. Salient points are highlightable and directly tweetable (we did tweet bites for this). Specific chunks are shareable in their own right.
    5. Commentary among the “followed” points to more interesting things I should know about.
    6. URL shorteners are rationalized to the point of ‘read this’ vs. ‘don’t need to.’
    7. A dynamic body of work or compendium emerges.

    In short how do we apply analog to digital thinking to writing that completely overhauled the music industry?

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    1. Now that you mention it, I’m a little surprised that *hasn’t* been implemented… A spoken version of that approach is the norm in writing groups/classes: author brings a copy of their piece for each participant, then comments are offered & discussed a chunk at a time with little leaps backwards as individuals have sudden insights. Also relatedly, margins are always left 1″ or greater so everyone can write their ideas right next to the (often underlined/boxed) section they’re referring to.

      If that was translated into digital form, I figure that sections would have underlines pointing to a sidebar list of “___ commented on this (xx replies)” bars that the user could click to bring up that specific nested discussion. Since most articles are only allowed to take up a small horizontal space, there would be plenty of room for it, I would think.

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  38. [...] The Evolution of Blogging [...]

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  39. Om, excellent and thoughtful post – and I, like many other here, agree.

    Interesting that non one mentions Google Wave, which seems to be an attempt to connect mainstream e-mail, microblogging, content and real-time collaboration.

    Is this a possible “next generation” in the sense you are thinking about?

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  40. Great summation on how the blog is really the hub of social media activities. For a business, as the blog becomes the “voice” of your website or more importantly your web presence it will be interesting to see how the fluidity of other SM media platforms is integrated and implemented. Certainly, the latest Twitter shut down and as you pointed out Friend Feed acquisition highlight the need for a “homebase” where you the publisher holds the cards. Thank you for pointing out the lack of export at these shared platforms. It’s a really important point that got me thinking about the consequences of creating a repository of content that is “locked” down.

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  41. [...] Update: Aug. 14th – This is a great blog post that gives an overview of how blogging is evolving and underlines the importance of having a homebase where you hold the cards and the direction blogging needs to take to involve more “social” aspects offered by other SM platforms.  The Evolution of Blogging [...]

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  42. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. While I’d like integration, I’d hate to see a blog turn into a flood of diggs and retweets. I think granular control is what’s ideally needed.

    I jotted down my ideas as a idea for WordPress for anyone interested:
    http://wordpress.org/extend/ideas/topic.php?id=3060

    Basically the concept is to let WordPress aggregate content and save in wp_posts but rather than just make a post out of everything give the blog owner the option to decide to put some other content into their blog (say just their flickr posts), or to perhaps create a page for their non-posts (/stream).

    I think that would allow for a good signal:noise ratio, which is what everyone ideally wants.

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  43. [...] The Evolution of Blogging – As a society, we are entering an increasingly narcissistic phase, enabled by web technologies…The evolution of blogging platforms needs to match these societal and demographic changes…Blogging platforms need to evolve from the hierarchical content-management systems of today to more fluid, free-flowing, more socially relevant and real-time lifestreaming systems. [...]

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  44. endless cycle: when “homebase” is centralized, we want decentralization, then back to centralization.

    Centralization – dictatorships, Decentralization – democracies

    Next stop – we’ll throw our hands up and suggest Facebook, Google, et all are the new IBM & Microsoft and they have too much control… we will flock to new, fragmented, open standards.

    Mainframes -> workstations & PC’s -> “cloud computing” -> back to user controlled pieces powered by easier management & provisioning, better visibility, and increased reliability… cheaper, faster, better.

    Compuserve/AOL -> a different web service for every function -> Facebook -> our own data stores powered by underlying standards which links them.

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  45. I love this idea! I feel like most people fall in love with one communication medium or another, AIM, Twitter, Facebook, whatever. It would be great if there was a website that could grab these streams (through collected login information?) and thread them all together- this way we’re all comfortable and all of the information is collected, tagged, and organized, but nothing is lost. Somehow a hybrid of Google Wave, Facebook, and basecamphq.com

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  46. [...] could have been a tweet but after reading The Evolution of Blogging, I’m making this a blog post instead. An interesting read about the evolutionary path of [...]

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  47. Good read.

    While we do need to connect the data — we also need to trim the deluge. Too many posts carrying the same data points eventually create a very-very fat head — We no longer follow through the blogs carrying the chatter through the tail thinking it’s the same story with 0.5 cents!

    Another problem is normalization & dedupe — a la my tweets showing up on Facebook status (via apps) but also showing via FriendFeed (another app) — Just like we are talking collaboration between people, we need to talk collaboration between apps — notch more than what OAuth does for data sharing — we need to go cross the boundaries to make the discovery process more efficient. The web needs to get more social — so do the apps which are enabling this.

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  48. As always OM, several steps ahead in your analysis.

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  49. [...] Blogging needs to become more real-time, social and collaborative to keep up with the times.  (GigaOM) [...]

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  50. Thank goodness bloggers have the deep thinkers, the hypothesisers , shamans & sangomas (bone throwers) to highlight the way forward.

    The debate about the demise of blogging has ebbed and flowed for many moons but thankfully it has survived the many wannabe trendier but transient social apps.

    Blogging is social media’s cockroach! It’ll survive being nuked. You can put in with a colors wash and a container of bleach at 70 degrees and it’ll go through the entire wash, rinse and spindry cyles unblemished, unscathed, unwrinkled and exit the process radiantly bright. Well, someone will have to use WP to blog about the use of non-eco wash rinse!

    Add to, weld on, plugin and reshape blogging – this cockroach will survive as the stand alone channel to exemplify and carry glorious wordsmithying to the future. The art of proper conversation in any of its forms will not die.

    Viva the blog, viva!

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  51. Very interesting post! I think this space is fascinating. Open standards are certainly important, truthfully crucial, and I’d say that the consumers desires might only be trumped by emerging technologies whatever they may be. It appears that with each new technology more established companies are either thrown on their heels (think MySpace), they forced to adjust (Facebook), or they are purchased (YouTube)… I’m sure there is a great thought process out there studying the emergence of new social technologies that “break through” every X months, similar to Moore’s Law. If not maybe I’ll blog about it!
    Thanks,
    Dave

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  52. [...] historical primer on Blogging has been getting the royal Tweetment today, but still not getting those “Jonas Brothers [...]

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  53. To date myself, all of this seems eerily reminiscent of the UNIX wars. While all the cognoscenti were endlessly debating which obscure UNIX APIs were most likely to take over the world, Microsoft captured 90% of the market …. let’s hope history does not repeat itself in the blogosphere …

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  54. [...] 14, 2009 by Trevor Campbell I just read a great article on the Evolution of Blogging by Om Malik. He says that blogging offers the substance and context that micromessaging (Twitter) [...]

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  55. I commented earlier on: ‘The(physical)Paper’ vs OnLine Newspaper & Magazine perusers…but somehow my comment published here under: “Anonymous”. ::smiling::: .

    Perhaps because FACEBOOK knows me as ‘Frank Lee’ rather than Frank L. {Willow-Rogers Jr.}

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  56. This is really cool. I think we are in another period of intense change – dare I say into a true Web 3.0?

    For me, P2 is the closest thing to combining both lifestreaming and blogging, but there is still something missing (besides the ability to post a title on the form…). Perhaps it is the ability to connect like FB and Twitter?

    As it is, I’m reaching my carrying capacity for information intake. Efficient sharing and consuming is what I’m really seeking.

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  57. [...] The Evolution of Blogging [...]

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  58. [...] I came across a fascinating article by Om Malik (gigaom) called The Evolution of Blogging (recommended for all bloggers and can he found here) [...]

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  59. We’re 100% behind this and believe that people and businesses need to think more clearly about their online content and federation.

    That’s why we’ve put together Cleartext ESM (Enterprise Social Messaging) a service not unlike managed and hosted email and email security.

    The service is based on XMPP and includes archiving, security & compliance measures and soon a native URL shortening and expanding service.

    Free online services are great, but should we trust them with our data, or should we all be responsible for our own data and federate?

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  60. Om / Great post. I have read through it and the comments, a couple of times today — thoughtful all around. I do wish you would go further — at the end you left me hanging.

    Posterous and tumblr and p2 are all great steps forward but they are in a sense more of the same — different representations of the flow, but still single services seeking to aggregate the flow and associated gestures into one experience. Does something end up breaking the mold?

    Did you ever see sweetcron — Jon yongfook’s wonderful host your own friend feed, he is in Asia and it got lost a little in the mix — but it was interesting, I think its now open source. What else is breaking the mold here? The other direction is in my mind a collection of loosely coupled pieces — yes as someone said in the comments there is an ebb and flow from centralization to decentralization — but the trend is one way — decentralize. Bet on the edge. Fascinating times.

    Share
    1. John

      I think the next post is coming up and that would answer some of your questions. I appreciate the top on Sweetcron. I have been following that for a while.

      We should catch up on the next evolution here.

      Share
  61. I completely agree with Om! I HAVE a facebook account, but am not active. I have always wondered, its MY content, MY pictures, MY videos, MY friends, but Facebook makes the money and I have no control over data once its uploaded?

    Share
  62. [...] The Evolution of Blogging Dave Winer’s ability to peer into the future is uncanny. He was talking about a river of news long before the current activity streams became popular. He was evangelizing RSS long before there were blogs. I could go on and on about his prescient observations, but it’s his warnings that are especially prophetic. (tags: blogging socialmedia future media social internet culture twitter) [...]

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  63. This was a very enlightening e-mail for me. I really hadn’t grasped exactly what I wanted until I got about half way through your post and finally grasped the power of consolidating my lifestream and posted content locally where I have control over the content. I currently follow a typical trend of posting all my content to friendfeed which then dumps to facebook and twitter. Most of my conversation then happens on FB and Twitter. However I want control over that activity and want the equivalent of an open and owned posterous that will scour and lifestream my activity in a collaborative platform, and also push out my posted content to whatever service I wish. In addition I need to pull in and manage comments from all services on any of my content. Throw all this into the wordpress architecture and I think you have a winner.

    I agree that all the services manage the flow in different ways and certainly, nothing truly captures what we need to centrally manage and own our content.

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  64. [...] GigaOM: “The Evolution of Blogging” [...]

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  65. [...] The Evolution of Blogging Dave Winer’s ability to peer into the future is uncanny. He was talking about a river of news long before the [...] [...]

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  66. [...] *Nerdly: Om Malik writes up a mega-post on the Evolution of Blogging. [...]

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  67. There seems to be an implicit belief that there will be one way to wrap everything together, that it will be possible to build that holy grail of publishing/conversational platforms. I don’t agree. If there is one thing that’s clear over the past decade is that the fragmentation of media continues, and it continues to accelerate. We might go through times when the fragmentation might seem to so slow down, but that is often a red herring. Fragmentation of our current publishing/conversational systems will continue because it can, and there is no reason to think it should stop, or can be made to stop, by the creation of some super-duper real-time enabled blogging system. One ring to bind them all only exists in fairy tales, imho :)

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  68. [...] Read the rest of this post on the original site Tagged: Internet, Voices, digital, innovation, activity streams, blogs, Dave Winer, GigaOm, Om Malik, river of news, RSS | permalink Sphere.Inline.search("", "http://voices.allthingsd.com/20090817/the-evolution-of-blogging/"); « Previous Post ord=Math.random()*10000000000000000; document.write(''); [...]

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  69. Since Om twisted my right arm (and he knows what that means):

    In my opinion it’s not a link economy.
    It’s an intent economy.

    Business Value = Eyeballs * intent

    If Intent is “0” Eyeballs don’t help. Even if you do brand marketing it
    would help to identify me as a Lexus (2) driver instead of putting a KIA ad in
    front of me and reduce my intent to 0.
    Google and Microsoft (took a while) know this. Search is all about
    intent, get that right and eyeballs follow. The news people really have
    to read up on what we know about the brain.

    Second:
    In your article you did not mention information overflow, we can either
    ignore it and do what I do when it gets to much, just stop reading
    anything with marginal information value to me. Or build a system to
    filter out what I don’t need but keep me reading what I’m generally
    interested in, which also helps the intent part (to make you guys some
    money).

    Share
  70. [...] The Evolution of Blogging Dave Winer’s ability to peer into the future is uncanny. He was talking about a river of news long before the current activity streams became popular. He was evangelizing RSS long before there were blogs. I could go on and on about his prescient observations, but it’s his warnings that are especially prophetic. (tags: blogging blogs socialmedia future blog social media journalism socialsquare) [...]

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  71. Bill Colliere Monday, August 17, 2009

    If information were food we would all be lining up at the troff. But I believe there is a cut off point in which population will reach enough, if not just stop with the information feed train altogether. I would be careful to consider into the equation the possibility of this information age to just simply fall back into its proper place of use as people begin to miss their privacy of mind and life. It all will fall into the gauntlet of entertainment once again, because of the laborious consumption and distraction from more important things such as life.

    Bill Collier

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    1. Information is more like a mild Drug, i.e. a Stimulus, which can in some cases lead to addiction. Like multi tasking, or physical activities like Running. All depends on the brain involved.
      But like all stimuli if you feed the normal brain to much it will not only block it, but get used to blocking it.
      Which still leaves curiosity which needs to be satisfied in our bland world, and news is just part of that.
      Now a feedback or involvement system to news has a social part which will most likely feed back into the Drug part, or feel good part of the brain.

      Disclaimer, I’m not a Physiologist, I do math. But we have math models which proof the first part , I don’t understand the social part at all (in math).

      Share
  72. [...] evolution of blogging is a necessity, but it has to go further than Posterous (for all the love I have towards this [...]

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  73. [...] The Evolution of Blogging >> GigaOm Blogging has evolved, becoming more than just a source of straight information or opinion, but of rich context. But that's … [...]

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  74. [...] The Evolution of Blogging: "As Twitter has become increasingly ingrained in our everyday lives, its value as as source of information tidbits has become clear. Think of it like that plate of chips and salsa you get before the entree arrives: tasty — spicy, even — but not entirely satisfying. Meanwhile, blogging has become the main course — the source of context. And the evolution into that role has injected new life into the blogosphere." [...]

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  75. [...] My four C’s of social media can be addressed through many social media applications but these processes do not need to be owned by any single application. I would say that it would be a mistake to use a single SaaS platform as your only way to engage in these processes. You can create, contextualize, connect and co-create in many ways; most of which can, and perhaps should, be linked back to your blog. Having watched MySpace get marginalized while Facebook dominates for now, it’s only a matter of time before more new platforms that we don’t own come along and lure the next bunch of digital sharecroppers. To see where blogging may be headed (Blogs 2.0?) check out Om Malik’s The Evolution of Blogging. [...]

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  76. well, for starters, we could figure out how to make certain comments stand out more, because I might like em. It’s difficult to wade through all in time and keep the chain of thought. And this is just in one blogpost. You can imagine how it works if you read many posts or tweets. There are conversation blindspots, you know. We should fix that! ;-)

    Anyway, not my point, just an observation on popular posts.

    This IS my point: We are actually talking about a distributed identity here, a caleidoscope of avatars that make up (a part of the online) you. We want them loosely connected, but the content distrbuted thoroughly. And we want them all in one place if we or our connections want them to be.

    We need NOT to rethink blogs, but to rethink the web as a whole. Where Berners-Lee came up with an author created linking system (the www), it is clear that is failing in this era of sliced content , the many online identities that people have and high paced production and consumption.

    The web, including blogs, should be expanded on three layers.
    1. the read/write web
    2. the semantic web
    3. the social web

    All three provide a different kind of connection that will make up the next web. The read/write takes into account that people both read and write the web. what you read should be gathered next to what you write in a natural, seamless way. The Semantic web would help me makes sense of the connection between many topics in and out of blogs, microblogs and networks. The Social Web will use my AND your connections to provide better linking between content that i and you should know about at a certain time. This timing part might be attributed to a fourth web, the realtime web. This is not for providing connections but to filter them time-based and keep the flow of consuming content optimal.

    As soon as we have services that make these automatic, managed connections from the three new webs available, we will see whole new web emerge. You will be able to share what you produce and consume in a highly dynamic, caleidoscopic way on your blog, in your social network or through your tweets

    I am not making this all up of course. We are working on it like many of you do, i assume. Curious what it will be like in 5 yrs or so. Keep it flowing.

    Lucien
    CEO Kimengi.com | f»dforward

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  77. [...] The Evolution of Blogging – Great summary by @gigaom | Totally consistent with what I've been d… I'd enthusiastically endorse the direction in this post. It also made me realize that I have to do more to capture and share my pictorial and webcontent. Most bloggers end up being bandwidth challenged with any success so they outsource the photo and video storage to the likes of flickr, or YouTube. For me that means a new host. I'm all for aggregating and controlling one's content or at least being the source for it. [...]

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  78. Thanks for sharing your insight on the evolution of blogging. Our firm has been really pushing our clients to leverage their Blog/Website as a Hub, like you mentioned in this post. I’m encouraged to think that we are on the right track with that advice.

    I really like your forward thinking and appreciate the fact that you shared it and also the tone with which you shared it. I’m now a subscriber, Twitter follower, and Facebook fan.

    Thanks…

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  79. I also feel that what we call blogging is evolving into a more automated and simple way of sharing what we do. In that sense believe the lifestream concept is where we are heading to. Blog software such as WordPress should be web “glue”, aggregating our activities on different web 2.0 services and bringing them together. On my personal blog I have been using the Lifestream Plugin for WP, which can communicate with many API’s and consolidate my online activities in a chronological flow. I feel it’s such an important aspect of blogging now days that Matt and Co. should make it a core function in WordPress – as well as on WP.com. The reason for this is that although many people actively post and write on their blog, the vast majority of people would rather have their blog do the updating by itself, collecting and presenting a lifestream of their comments, uploads, favorites, notes etc.

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  80. [...] also resolve any shortened URLs to the original full URL, a useful feature in light of the recent threatened shutdown of URL shortening service Tr.im. PositivePress does not archive videos, [...]

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  81. [...] streams from other sites.  in particular, i was thinking about what om malik talks about in this post on what he sees as the evolution of blogging.  one point he makes is that, for those of us who [...]

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  82. [...] is performing in San Francisco this weekend. In the slipstream of my post from earlier this month, The Evolution of Blogging, several folks have come-up with their own take on why there is a crying need for a new blogging [...]

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  83. [...] source of inspiration was Om Malik’s thought-provoking poston the evolution of blogging, which explores how blogging is going to change as social media and [...]

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  84. [...] a time where a good number of folks have been validly questioning the future of blogging as we know it, and perhaps venture into what that future [...]

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  85. [...] good read is Om Malik’s The Evolution of Blogging, which looks at how blogging is changing as the social media landscape matures and moves [...]

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  86. [...] The Evolution of Blogging The Pushbutton Web: Realtimes Becomes Real Twitter’s platform shortcomings Your Blog is Your Mothership [...]

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  87. [...] pm on August 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply Tags: facebook Om Malik wrote this in his blog named The evolution of blogging and I quote Millions of Facebook users will have no reason to use any other service for the [...]

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  88. [...] Maliks plädiert in The Evolution of Blogging für mehr Sensibilität beim Thema fremd- vs. selbstkontrolliertes Publishing: wer seine [...]

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  89. [...] favorite post on this subject though comes from Om Malik who wrote the aptly titled post “The Evolution of Blogging” where he provides much more context around this shift, why it needs to happen, and [...]

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  90. [...] in distributed social networks. And it’s intriguing to think about the ideas described by Om Malik, Anil Dash, Dave Winer and others describing blogs as the home base and source for such distributed [...]

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  91. [...] Internet è la natura del publishing, del content sharing e del consumo di contenuti”, dice Om Malik, poi aggiunge che i blogs hanno di fatto la necessità di diventare sociali (social [...]

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  92. [...] A good read on where blogging is going is Om Malik’s “The Evolution of Blogging”. This entry was posted in Blog Services, Blogs and tagged Blogging, Blogs, Social Media, [...]

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  93. [...] En la primavera-verano de 1999 aparecieron LiveJournal, Pitas y Blogger. 10 años después, ¿qué retos deben afrontar?… Read English [...]

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  94. [...] known of him, been a source of brilliant thinking about the web. In a fairly new article, The Evolution of Blogging, he looks at where blogging may be going in future. This has been sitting open as a tab in my [...]

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  95. [...] Blogging – Om Malik says blogs need to evolve and be more social. Why? Otherwise they will not survive the competition with social networking services like Facebook and Twitter. This was evolution as progress. But then there’s Niall Ferguson. His take on the evolution of financial theory is more refined, and this clip is definitely worth watching. Worth a read, on the other hand, is his book The Ascent of Money. Here he offers six features shared by the financial world and evolutionary systems. I quote: [...]

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  96. [...] that besides missing out on information you care about, this stream overload can lead to “disjointed conversations that lack context, making it hard to piece together and decipher what it all means”.  I can [...]

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  97. [...] schon im August auf Gigaom einen Beitrag veröffentlicht, der den aufschlussreichen Titel „The Evolution of Blogging“ [...]

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  98. [...] the service within their applications so that their users won’t have to piece together disjointed tweets. So far, Tweepz, a web site that lets you search for people on Twitter, is planning on using the [...]

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  99. [...] We’ve written extensively about how tweets seriously lack context, due, at least in part, to the inherently disjointed nature of the Twitter network. To read a conversation in its entirety, it requires a lot of clicking back and [...]

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  100. [...] need or want to see. As Om pointed out last week, this influx of status updates often results in a series of disjointed conversations that lack context, making it hard to piece together and decipher what it all [...]

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  101. [...] is a powerful force, and blogging, if it wants to move further forward, Status: PendingReport Abusehttp://gigaom.com/2009/08/13/the-evolution-of-blogging/ [...]

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  102. [...] on the “attention” of their community. In a subsequent post a few months later on the evolution of blogging, I pointed out that: As Twitter has become increasingly ingrained in our everyday lives, its value [...]

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  103. [...] and use our sources to present the best news analysis and informed opinions in near realtime. In a post last year, I wrote: As Twitter has become increasingly ingrained in our everyday lives, its value as as source of [...]

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  104. [...] evolution of blogging is a necessity, but it has to go further than Posterous (for all the love I have towards this [...]

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  105. [...] evolution of blogging An incisive blog from Om Malik at Gigaom [...]

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  106. As great Facebook is for sharing photos, videos etc with loved ones who may live far away, what Facebook does with the data we give so easily is starting to become a huge concern.

    I do agree that web technologies are enabling us to become narcissistic but I think that this may be short lived as people tire of everyone knowing what they’re up to and having so much information available in the public domain. Particularly with more and more employers Googling potential employees etc, I think there could be a mini-backlash and children/teenagers will grow up more savvy and suspicious of the internet and social media.

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  107. Omid Mirshafiei Sunday, September 12, 2010

    It would be interesting to have a system where the daily content IS the centerpiece (read: does not take a backseat to the discussions), but through elegant data visualization we could see what points of the article are causing the most ruckus. Something like a trend graph to illustrate “hot spot” ideas that are generating buzz.

    As a reader, if I see a long piece, I will definitely read it to join the discussion, but I know that maybe 30% of the commotion in the discussion section could be caused by one obscure sentence that wouldn’t normally stand out on its own.

    Not sure if that made any sense or if I’m the only one that would be interested in seeing that represented visually.

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    1. Yeah .. you are quite right.
      But don’t you think that a summary provide the crucks of whole content.That have been a main source foe getting the main idea.

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