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Talkin' Bout a (Blogging) Revolution

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Chalk up that headline as a hat tip to one of my favorite artists, Tracy Chapman, who 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 revolution. Chris Saad, who works for, a startup that makes social media tools and has been involved in various technical groups such as, today outlines seven reasons why the blog builders and users need to rise up. “It’s time we start re-investing in our own, open social platforms…Blogs are our profile pages – social nodes – on the open, distributed social web,” he writes. Well said, Saad! His seven reasons are:

1. Twitter Inc decisions that have not reflected the will of the community – particularly changing the @ behavior, changing their API without informing developers, making opaque decisions with their Suggested User List and limiting access to their Firehose.
2. Facebook’s continued resistance to true DataPortability
3.The emergence of tools and technologies that turn blogs into real-time, first class citizens of the social web. Tools like Lijit, PubSubHubBub and of course Echo.
4. A broader understanding that blogs are a self-owned, personalized, tool agnostic way to participate in the open social web.
5. FriendFeed selling out to Facebook
6. A flurry of great posts on the subject
7. The broader themes of the Synaptic Web” (via Chris Saad )

The point in number six is a bit of a stretch, but the rest of them make absolute sense to me. By the way, I am going to be following up my original post with additional thoughts and ideas.

21 Responses to “Talkin' Bout a (Blogging) Revolution”

  1. Perhaps blogging is a victim of its own success. As blogs proliferate, the audience becomes more fragmented, and each blog on average has a smaller audience making it less of value to business and/or personal aspirations.

  2. Panch Rupaiyya

    Om Malik wrote: “By the way, I am going to be following up my original post with additional thoughts and ideas.”

    You mean there were “thoughts” and “ideas” in your original post? Where? Are they visible to the naked eye?

  3. Well the the synaptic web won’t work, as described in 7.

    Neuron behavior, which “selects” the “routing/activation” of connections, without firing most connections mean absolutely nothing.:

    Firing is stochastic (doesn’t improve with learning)
    Firing pause (deterministic)
    Transmit different neuro transmitters (different neurons)
    Have different sheaths of myelin for faster transfer
    Glial cells create/absorb transmitters in a none uniform distribution
    .etc,etc …

    In other words if your model/understanding doesn’t take into account different levels of myelin for example, the underlying math is most probably as wrong as boolean logic. It’s a little more complicated then connections and/or firing, otherwise there would be no MS and related illnesses.

    Even if you forget all of this, how does feedback fit into the picture? Which I hope everybody recognizes as a very important part of any smart system.
    Which brings up the question. Is it internal or external feedback and how is it distinguished? In other words there have to be “notes” in a social web which are internal and provide feedback and some which are external, otherwise you end up with an incredible mess. Not all feedback can be treated equal, there is also the matter of trust and (perceived) truth.

    To sum it up, I don’t think a social web can ever be one big brain (ever worked on a system designed by committee), but it should involve to be a brain of brains (or information centers, brains don’t have to be smart, as long as they transform data into information,which is just an organizational process). A network of networks was actually a pretty smart move.

    Let’s see what Om has to say.

      • “Syanaptic Web isn’t actually described in point 7 – just referenced.”
        Uups my bad.

        But may I suggest you pay your Sys-Admins more money :-)
        Links should not be stochastic. Nor should notes go down to sleep for a while after they routed some data. Where are the different neuro transmitters on the Web ? Speeding up data didn’t give any meaning to that data on the web last time I checked. Most Neurons have many to many relations, web links are one to one.
        In other word comparing or associating as the same web links and brain connections is just plain wrong. If I would know what intelligence is, I would call the web “collective dumbness” since it is a forced memorization system. Nothing wrong with that, but any brain and the web are really, really different and so are the connections and links. Following a link retrieves data, one to one. Transmitting a neuro transmitter, hoping it’s not one which shuts down the receiving neurons, just doesn’t do anything like that.

  4. Om,

    Thanks for the mention. Blogs are and continue to be synthesized thoughts that are more than in-the-moment emotions that are broadcast on popular social media sites. Getting to know the author is most of the benefit of social media. Knowing the source of the opinion is the only thing that gives life to the comments that are echo’ed and the information that is searched in Lijit.


    • I think that’s the traditional view – but I’m suggesting a much broader definition and use case for blogs and blogging software – one that sees them used for both long, thoughtful pieces like the ones on Gigaom, as well as short, 140 character bursts.

      The software and the way its build (multiple tools with RSS endpoints) can be used for both.

    • Well you guys are the actual builders so let’s see you guys take the movement and run with it. I think that is the key – the tool companies have to take charge. The tinkerers have to start mucking around and coming up with new ideas.

      • We’re trying – not to turn into a commercial, but Echo is a sincere attempt to build a product that re-balances the equation between social networks and blogs. v1 is just the beginning of course, and those betting on our vision for a stronger distributed web will not be disappointed.

        It’s more than that though. If more of us (especially top bloggers like yourself) demanded better plugins and tools for our blogs, rather than focusing on what new feature Facebook and Friendfeed did or didn’t ship, we’d have more companies catering to those needs.

        For my part, though, the publisher, bloggers large and small, our the future of the distributed web so that’s where my work and my social networking will be.

        I will only use Twitter and FriendFeed as distribution tools, not as 1st class content creation/conversation tools.