Most of us have answers to this question down pat… What is hard is getting at the depth, richness and warmth of the blogosphere. Now I’m not getting all soft here but two things got me thinking about this.
First, I posted on the arrival last week of Sophia, our gorgeous little daughter. To date we’ve had a couple of hundred emails from folks including friends and family… through people we’ve worked with… to long-lost acquaintances.. through to folks I’ve never met in person but regularly exchange news and views with… through to folks I’ve never met but read my blog and are kind enough to post comments. In fact, the warm messages reaching us through the blogosphere and email are far exceeding traditional cards arriving in the mail.
Reflecting on this it really throws light on the blogosphere being a place for community and conversation. And that this is a pretty warm place (too often I’ve associated it with debate and expressions of point of view) – a place where people are genuinely interested in others and express that. Maybe it attracts that kind of person – not everyone is up for such open expression in public forums.
And this is what makes the blogosphere very different. Steve Rubel and I have never met in person but we exchange views via our blogs and trackbacks. The utility of the technology enables him to post a comment and for hundreds of others to send an email saying congrats – and for others to click and email (not everyone is into the comments thing).
It’s as if though the blog becomes the center point of your own little opt-in community. You get to fuel it with dialog and if folks like it, they come back and not only share in your views but participate in your little walk through life. And maybe this is what will separate the corporate blog from the rich professional and personal blogs? I’m not interested in being exclusive in what gets to be a blog and what doesn’t. But different blog types are here and definitions are useful.
So, in a much broader context, maybe we end-up with definitions that look something like this:
Web = Cold Blogosphere = Warmth
Web = Transmission Blogosphere = Conversation
Web = Place Blogosphere = Community
Web = Anonymous Blogosphere = Personal
Web = Company Blogosphere = People
Web = Content Blogosphere = Expression
Web = Cookie Cutter Blogosphere = Individual
Web = Closed Blogosphere = Participatory
Web = Unresponsive Blogosphere = Gives thanks….
More than anything, this is the notion of conversation that was bought so vividly to life by David Weinberger and others in The ClueTrain Manifesto. While the writing was electric I couldn’t help feel that it all was a little academic – a place in the future. My experience over the past few days is quite the opposite. This is very warm and personal. It’s something very different. And it’s here. Thank you!