Monday, January 31, 2005

Questions About Blogs Nobody Seems to Answer

*****


piano sonata in c minor Posted by Hello


Questions About Blogs
Nobody Seems to Answer


I spent some time today visiting the blogs in my blogroll (see right column list of sites), and a few other blogs that they link to, and I started wondering about some things regarding blogs.

As I read my favorite blogs, and pondered the hot, new concerns being voiced, I developed the following concerns of my own.



16 Questions About Blogs Nobody Seems To Answer



1. Can you post too frequently? Is a new post every day too much? What about 3 or 4 times a day?

[I know, it depends on the blog, and Special Event Blogs (like the Iraq Elections, American presidential elections, or the tsunami disaster) tend to be updated with fresh content very frequently, sometimes every few minutes, at least for a while.

But I refer to posting on business, marketing, CEO, professional, scientific, "serious topic" blogs that are not necessarily tied to any current event or breaking news stories. In these blogs, can you post too frequently?]

2. Should most of your posts be as brief as possible, or should you say as much as you think you need to say to express an important thought on a subject?

3. Can you have too many links in your blogroll?

4. Just how important and effective is RSS ("Really Simple Syndication")? [You'll notice that I don't use RSS. Do you know why? Have you heard of RSS spam?]

6. Podcasting: do people really want to hear us blog? Isn't that a slow way to disseminate information? Is podcasting just a brief fad? How similar is podcasting to audio books?

7. How effective are photos and art for a blog? Do they increase readership...or are they distracting attention from the textual content?

8. Why do non-bloggers have trouble understanding the great and many benefits of blogging? Why do business people balk at starting a blog? What are the major obstacles or objections for businesses when it comes to starting a blog?

9. Will blikis (combo blog/wikis) become popular? Or will blogs and wikis go their separate ways?

10. What impression does a blog make when it has no external links, no blogrolls, nothing but the blogger's "voice" and self-promotional material?

11. How long will the blogosphere be cluttered with Personal Random Chatter Vanity Blogs? When will these type of blogs decline and perish, replaced by corporate, professional, journalist, i.e., more serious blogs?

12. Can blogs, like web sites, be classified as being either narcissistic or altruistic? (Meaning: heavily oriented to either self-centered purposes or other-directed purposes?

13. Will there be a near-future mad rush to wikis, similar to the mad rush to blogs we're seeing now?

14. Is it a bad idea to give your blog a title that is different from the URL? Does this mainly occur when a blogger decides they don't like the blog title, so they change it, but they don't change the blog URL because then no frequent blog visitors would be able to find their blog? Is there a solution for this dilemma?

15. I just posted a comment on a blog, but in my hurry, I forgot to fill in my name, email address, and URL. But the comment posted anyway. Is this a bug in that blog's comment functionality? How bad a problem could this be for the blog and should the blog owner correct it immediately?

16. The Next Big Thing after blogs: is it wikis...or glogs (cyborg logs)...or what?


I'm sure there are plenty of bloggers, web theorists, futurists, etc. who discuss such questions, but as of today, these questions seem a bit esoteric, I don't know who is talking about such things in depth.

Let me know if you have any answers.

I'll do an EDIT UPDATE right here on this post, when I come across interesting material related to any of these issues.

Stay tuned to this post.

1 comment:

peterg22 said...

Preamble: I don't necessarily blog for an "audience". It's my way of keeping my diary in realtime, and if anyone else reads it, then that's cool.. I'm really too lazy to write a paper diary. If visitors leave comments then I'm very impressed. One day I'll download and read the whole thing from end to end and remember my life..

Okay, here we go ..

1. Can you post too frequently Probably not. I frequently post around 3-4 times daily. My blog is the physical manifestation of my mental jotting pad so it's going to be updated often. Also I tend to notice lots of stuff and have way too many opinions, which doesn't help :-)

2. Should most of your posts be as brief as possible... As i originally wrote my blog for a mobile device the posts are necessarily brief, but they do have a "read more" link as appropriate. I try very hard to convey the essence of the post in 500 bytes (good for early cellphones/WAP), but with room for more verbose content - but only if you want it.

3. Can you have too many links in your blogroll? Yes. I think that about a dozen is cool, as you'd tend to have that many close friends.

4. how important and effective is RSS To me it's very important as the format enables me to publish my blog on a wide variety of devices. I also rely on it heavily as I generally keep up to date with a dozen blogs at a time using Plucker for my Palm, and RSS is the vehicle of choice. Site scraping is really messy by comparison. I'm currently not popular enough to get comment spam :-) Effective ? Well it works for me..

6. Podcasting Hmmm.. difficult. I wasn't impressed when I heard a couple of audio blogs just before podcasting started, and to be honest I think that very few people can do it effectively. It's not really similar to an audiobook unless the audiobook is something like an Alastair Cooke's "Letter From America"..

7. How effective are photos and art for a blog Depends how you're reading the blog. On a cellphone images are a nuisance and can be expensive. I like the option to be able to link to an image and at the end of the day it preserves bandwidth which isn't an infinite resource. IMHO they should complement the text. If they detract from the textual content, the textual content may well be of poor quality :-)

8. Why do non-bloggers have trouble understanding the great and many benefits of blogging? I really don't know.. Maybe they don't keep a diary either ?

Why do business people balk at starting a blog Probably because for the first time in their life they'll have to publish the truth, in public.

What are the major obstacles or objections for businesses when it comes to starting a blog Personally I think that deciding (a) who should maintain it, and (b) what to put in it (i.e will it make it past legal department and still be fresh enough to be relevant)

9. Will blikis (combo blog/wikis) become popular Personally I find that wikis are too rambling whereas a blog is generally well structured making it easier to read. If the issue is readability, blogs currently win hands down. I think the two will keep separate.

10. What impression does a blog make when it has no external links, no blogrolls, nothing but the blogger's "voice" and self-promotional material It's not necessarily a bad thing: if it's being used as a diary that's what I'd expect to see. After all, you don't keep a paper diary and write a margin note saying "check out Aunt Mary's diary" :-) Is that a cop-out answer ? :-))

11. How long will the blogosphere be cluttered with Personal Random Chatter Vanity Blogs? Probably forever+1. To a certain extent that's part of the appeal - it's happening and immediate so it'll get blogged.

When will these type of blogs decline and perish, replaced by corporate, professional, journalist I personally don't think that would be a good idea. As the blog in the Western world is currently a tool of free speech it's available for anyone and everyone to use, and so they do.

12. Can blogs, like web sites, be classified as being either narcissistic or altruistic? Absolutely. Anything that reflects a person's life is reflected in whatever communications medium they use. It would have been interesting to read Oscar Wilde's blog, if they'd been around then.

13. Will there be a near-future mad rush to wikis, similar to the mad rush to blogs we're seeing now Based on a usability point of view, and based on personal experience, probably not. I'd hope not.

14. Is it a bad idea to give your blog a title that is different from the URL? Possibly, but ..

Does this mainly occur when a blogger decides they don't like the blog title, so they change it, but they don't change the blog URL because then no frequent blog visitors would be able to find their blog? ..isn't it the old problem of "all the best domain names are already taken" ? Also, the blog may have a really good title but it may be difficult to spell correctly, thus potentially losing the audience.

Is there a solution for this dilemma? The only one I know of so far is tinyurl.com which also has the option not to make the URL public - useful if you have a "private" blog.

15. I just posted a comment on a blog, but in my hurry, I forgot to fill in my name, email address, and URL. But the comment posted anyway. Is this a bug in that blog's comment functionality

Depends on the blog. On mine all those fields are optional as I don't have a strict "door" policy, so that would be a "feature". On a business blog it could be a legal nightmare, especially if someone posted a libellous/slanderous comment.

How bad a problem could this be for the blog and should the blog owner correct it immediately? Bearing in mind the speed that the content would be made available to an audience, it could be at the least embarrassing, at worst catastrophic for a company. I'd have to say though that if it got to that stage the blog software designer should be sacked for failing to test for such an obvious "hole".

16. The Next Big Thing after blogs: is it wikis...or glogs (cyborg logs)...or what Now you're asking ! How about a collaborative blog "cloud" based on something like Skype that would be instantly updateable by a team of editors ? That would probably kill off a lot of the existing media dead overnight !