Year-end tends to be a slow cycle for actual tech news, so we spend a lot of time reading an endless stream of year-end wrap-ups and predictions for the coming year, many of which just serve to stir up buzz on the Internet. Such as ...
Gartner is predicting that 2007 will mark a high-water mark for the blogging phenomenon, indicated by the thousands of individuals who are shutting down their blogs (or even more annoyingly, just letting them lie dormant). And isn't 100 million enough of anything?
We've covered -- and largely continue to be convinced of -- the importance of blogs for businesses, particularly in the tech sector. There are credible arguments to the contrary, but see Johnathan Schwartz, Robert Scoble, et al, for evidence of the power of open, honest blogging with your constituency.
However, as Internet researchers, we also see a ton of junk blogs, and even worse little spam machines that do nothing but re-publish feeds. Ars Technica notes that blog aggregator Technorati says it's tracking 57 million "active" blogs.
"Blog" is one of those terms that has quickly come to have two distinct meanings:
Technically, it's a very simple, XML/RSS-based Web publishing system that allows pretty much anybody to have a Web site.
In terms of content, it's a highly interactive way to publish opinion and information.
The simplicity and affordability of blogs have enabled smart individuals to launch high-value content sites -- would Nicholas Carr have bothered to start Rough Type if he had to lay out $75,000 or so in up-front dev costs?
Of course, that affordability has also clogged sites like Blogger.com with a lot of junk that would embarrass public access cable.
Predictions like Gartner's of a blogging downturn in 2007 may be a little premature and sensationalist -- and a little Euro-centric, to boot. After all, there are still a ton of folks in China and other developing markets who have something to say.
But clearly, just having a blog is no longer enough. The noise makes it essential that you have a good blog.