One thing I’ve noticed at the Blog Business Summit is that a lot of the attendees are still not that educated on blogging and many of the related aspects of it (RSS, monetizing, pinging, trackbacks, etc.).
That’s okay, people are here to learn, but in general people attending a conference on blogging should be more educated about it than the general population right?
Yes and no. They’re more educated on blogging and its specifics as we know it right now, but the teenagers and college students of today are really blogging or “personally publishing” in huge amounts on Myspace, Facebook, YouTube, or any other social network of your choice.
In my job working with web publishers at Right Media I’m already aware of how powerful this is, because the number of visitors and page views created in today’s blogosphere already pales in comparison to the visitors and page views on social networking and other personal publishing sites. If it were a battle, the blogosphere has already lost.
What’s also different about the teenagers personal publishing is that they aren’t doing it for money or business success, they’re doing it as a way to communicate with friends, date, express themselves, and probably gain a bit of popularity.
What was the current generation of bloggers doing when they were in high school or in college? Most were definitely not publishing in this type of way, except for maybe recent college graduates.. What’s going to happen when these teenagers hit the professional world and start wanting to make money, promote themselves, and wanting to help their employers succeed? Won’t they just continue personal publishing for themselves or their companies, it just won’t be on Myspace anymore?
Won’t every company that these teenagers start embrace blogging or publishing in this manner? It’s going to be a habit to personally publish by the time the kids playing around on YouTube are starting their own local, national, or web businesses.
As an example, why do businesses or professionals today hold back from blogging? A few reasons:
1. Unfamiliarity – This won’t be a problem with the teenagers of today, as they are growing up with personal publishing on the web.
2. Privacy and fear – Companies and people are uncomfortable sharing their thoughts and information. The teenagers of today are already past that fear and publishing probably TOO much about themselves, their thoughts, and their actions.
3. Free time – For businesses and individuals who understand the power of blogging, it doesn’t need to be a “free time only” activity. Both personally and professionally blogging pays off for those who do it consistently, so it can be an activity that is important enough for time to be alotted to it. The workers of tomorrow also are used to integrating personal publishing with their busy school and social schedules, so doing it while working shouldn’t be much of a problem.
Where does this leave us? Blogging won’t really be it’s own special industry or club anymore. It will just be publishing on the web. If the publishing is personal, then it’s personal publishing. If the publishing is business or topic focused, then it will just be publishing content on those topics.
While this might threaten some who feel special about blogging and being a blogger, I think it’s good and an inevitable evolution of people’s participation on the web. It almost makes me feel silly talking about blogging as something that is special today.