I think Rex Hammock nailed it the other day when he said:
When you set up a weblog, don’t think of it as launching a “publication” or any other “mass media” and don’t measure success in terms of “size of audience.” Think of it simply as having a place on the web to easily post messages, photos and other digital files. Think of it as having something like email, but you don’t send it out — however, your friends or associates can “subscribe” to it, if they want to. Don’t make this too complicated.
Many of us, myself included, are inclined to think about blogs as being more revolutionary than they really are. Yes, I write about how a blog is really just an online diary, etc. And most of the time I remember that. But then my erector-set personality fools my brain into thinking that all this blogging stuff is some new creation that is rapidly shifting all of our paradigms.
The fact is that blogs are changing things, primarily by making it easier to do what we’ve been trying to do all along. We wanted to have distributed, archivable conversations with people all over the world back in the nineties. The problem was that we didn’t have today’s blogging platforms to help publish and manage our content.
Blogs are really just a technological advance in the personal web page. They make it easier for us oldtimers to manage our content and they lower the technological barrier to entry, which gives more people a place at the table. Good, yes. World changing, not really.
Look at what Newsome.Org looked like back in 1999 (ignore the date near the top, that’s some code that continues to do its job).
See the “Latest News” in the middle column? That’s a primitive Perl based predecessor to a blogging platform. I didn’t call it blogging back then, but that’s what I and countless others were doing. We just didn’t know it.
Note the empty box in the right hand column where the Chat Room used to be? 2006 so far is the year of the blog-based chat room. But we had them back in 1999.
See the classified ads link in the left hand column. Again, primitive and Perl-based, but we had them way back then.
Scott Karp gets it too:
So what is a blog? It’s a content management and publishing platform. All online publishers use a content management and publishing platform. The difference with blogging software is that it doesn’t come with the huge price tag.
Blogs are just a better and easier way to do what we were doing back then.
And we didn’t even know it.