Mapping The Web

July 16, 2007

The Divergence of the Blogosphere

Tags: blogs, trends, networks — Aidan @ 5:06 pm

DivergenceThe way I see it, the blogosphere is moving in two separate directions. One group of individuals who blog for personal reasons is moving toward micro-blogging. The other group, focused on news articles and editorials, is moving toward a more traditional media model. The reason behind this digression is actually quite straightforward when you consider the goals of each type of blogger.

Personal bloggers want to keep friends, family, and colleagues updated on their happenings. They don’t tend to have a lot of time to spend writing and editing posts. Historically, this group posts irregularly at best and updates tend to go on and on. For this reason, shorter, more frequent posts are perfect. Not only do they take less planning and time to fabricate, but they also don’t bore the reader.

All the aforementioned disadvantages of blogging lead us to a new trend - micro-blogging. This phenomenon has really taken off as of late. Start-ups such as Twiiter (most notably), but also Pownce, Jaiku, Hictu, Moodmill, and Tumblr have paved the way for this new form of blogging. This doesn’t mean that micro-bloggers are restricted to text. Personal media, such photos and videos, can still be shared using these platforms, as it is very important to this target group.

From the other side, bloggers who focus on news articles, editorials, and more professional content publishing are moving toward a more traditional media strategy. What this means is that we will see more and more blogs morph into so-called portals. This will provide added functionality, above and beyond that provided by the platforms. Other signs of the transformation include personalized designs and custom layouts, scheduled posting, ad models, user profiles, and, of course, well-written content.

Obviously not all bloggers fit into one of these two categories, but I would wager that a large majority do. It will be interesting to observe the evolution of micro-blogging as it progresses from infancy. Will it just be a trend or fad? I don’t think so. I think the future looks very bright for these short messages. As for the citizen journalists and publishers, I also think there is a huge opportunity for this group as well. More and more, we are seeing these individuals make a living off blogging. I am not going to predict the extinction of newspapers and magazines just yet, but blogs will definitely play a key role in the development of media in the years to come. Divergence of the Blogosphere digg:The Divergence of the Blogosphere reddit:The Divergence of the Blogosphere

July 15, 2007

How Do Widget Companies Monetize Their Services?

Tags: marketing, blogs, strategy, trends, widgets — Aidan @ 11:15 am

Hope for a buy-out? Maximize on-site page views?

To be completely honest, I have no answer for this question. I don’t think that the terms ‘widget’ and ‘profitability’ were destined to be together. Any thoughts on this? Do Widget Companies Monetize Their Services? digg:How Do Widget Companies Monetize Their Services? reddit:How Do Widget Companies Monetize Their Services?

July 14, 2007

My 11 Blog Lessons

A few days ago, Mark Evans wrote a post outlining some of the blog lessons he has learned since he began. I can definitely relate to most. In light of that post, I will now outline some of the lessons I have learned since I began blogging in September 2006.

1. Content is king. This cannot be over-emphasized enough. Always provide quality content for your readers. If you find that you are unable to come up with interesting, pertinent content on a regular basis, post less often. Do not allow the quality of your content to degrade.

2. NEVER take your readers for granted. Your audience is your basis for being. Thank them for their participation, be sure to respond to their e-mails, and never insult their intelligence.

3. Blogging is a huge time commitment. Well, it can be if you post regularly and plan on successfully marketing your blog. Often, new bloggers underestimate the time needed to successfully operate a blog.

4. Become a part of the blogosphere community. This means commenting on other blogs, adding trackbacks to your posts, linking to other blogs via your blogroll, and leveraging community widgets to enhance your blog experience for readers. This will help build your traffic, provide incoming links, and ensure a certain level of exposure for your blog. Furthermore, community participation will also provide valuable networking opportunities with other bloggers, Internet enthusiasts, and company exceutives.

5. Have a goal and a vision when you begin blogging. What is your reason for blogging? Do you want to provide an update for friends and family, or do you want to write articles on a given niche? Everyone has a different reason and underlying motivation for blogging. Money and financial returns should not be a primary motivator, nor should notoriety and fame.

6. Make yourself extremely accessible to readers. By prominently displaying your contact information and allowing easy communication with readers, you will be bridging the gap and creating a more loyal, trustworthy following. Having said that, you must also make a strong effort to reply to comments and e-mails in a prompt, thoughtful manner. 

7. Post on a consistent basis. This doesn’t mean you need to post daily. What it means is that you must post on a consistent basis, whether it be once every two days, weekly, or even monthly. This way, your readers will know when to expect another post and do not become frustrated by an inconsistent posting schedule.

8. Stay on topic. Don’t sway too much from your initial niche and begin posting off topic. This not only disgruntles readers, but also ruins trust and loyalty. Providing high quality content in a given niche will help shape your space in the blogosphere and showcase your expertise.

9. Don’t regurgitate other blogs’ content. Numerous blogs simply choose to paraphrase other blogs or re-write articles in their own words. This provides no value to the reader, as he/she can simply visit the cited location. Every post must provide a unique perspective or view.

10. Don’t be discouraged by stats. It takes time to build a reader base. By posting quality content on a regular basis and participating in the blogosphere community, increased readership is inevitable. Stats can be discouraging at times, but you must stick with your initial vision. Quality and consistency will translate into surprising success.

11. Make design changes every once in awhile. In other words, keep a fresh look. This may mean changes to the overall design, colour schemes, widgets, layout, etc… By making regular changes, you will be providing a fresh look for you and your readers, creating a more enjoyable experience.

What lessons have you learned from blogging? What have been your biggest hurdles and obstacles to overcome? I encourage you to write a list of your own. 11 Blog Lessons digg:My 11 Blog Lessons reddit:My 11 Blog Lessons

July 10, 2007

Official Read/WriteWeb Writer

Tags: blogs, off topic — Aidan @ 3:50 pm

Read/Write Web logoReaders of MappingTheWeb will now be seeing me elsewhere in the blogosphere from time to time. I have just accepted a part-time writing position at Read/WriteWeb, one of the web’s biggest web 2.0/technology blogs. It is ranked 28th by Technorati out of all blogs and has 80,000+ RSS subscribers.

I will be posting 2+ times per week, starting Friday. I encourage everyone to check out my posts on R/WW, as well as those of the other publishers. The team is led by well-known blogger Richard MacManus and newcomer Josh Catone. The content is very high quality and a pleasure to read.

Having said all this, nothing changes around here. I will still be posting on MappingTheWeb on most weekdays (at least once), as well as the odd time on weekends.

For more information on the position, read this Read/WriteWeb article. Read/WriteWeb Writer digg:Official Read/WriteWeb Writer reddit:Official Read/WriteWeb Writer

June 30, 2007

Is Anyone Else Sick Of Hearing About The iPhone?

Tags: social media, marketing, blogs, trends, markets, launch, networks — Aidan @ 3:12 pm

iPhoneI’m not getting an iPhone and probably never will. Having said that, it looks cool and I can understand the hype and buzz surrounding the launch. But the hysteria and sheer madness have reached levels beyond my wildest imagination. Everyone is talking about the iPhone regardless of whether it’s on topic or not. Case in point: this blog. Even TechCrunch has been swept up in the iPhone fever. I counted 5 stories in a row dedicated to the iPhone. Remember, TechCrunch is a blog that supposedly discusses start-ups. They should leave these stories up to CrunchGear.

It seems that almost every blog, news site, and discussion group is buzzing about the iPhone. I feel like my head is going to explode. iPhone stories have run amok at Digg and Techmeme. Traffic at tech gadget blogs, such as Engadget, Gizmodo, and CrunchGear has spiked in the past few days. Almost every single blog on my feed reader has an iPhone story - some even have multiple.

When is the madness going to end? I hope it’s soon…

With all due respect, I give credit where credit is due. This has obviously been a phenomenal launch for Apple. I can’t think of an event that has garnered such PR attention and exposure in recent memory. But it makes you wonder whether a backlash or recoil is imminent. Sometimes the most successful campaigns spur counteraction and negative sentiment. Only time will tell.

… and I thought Dairy Queen had an incredible launch with their waffle sundae campaign. What do I know?

PS. Is everyone else embracing this iPhone frenzy? Am I the only one who is sick of hearing about this gadget? Anyone Else Sick Of Hearing About The iPhone? digg:Is Anyone Else Sick Of Hearing About The iPhone? reddit:Is Anyone Else Sick Of Hearing About The iPhone?
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