The past four years have seen significant change in blogging and the future will see more. The number of people blogging continues to grow rapidly. Technorati tracks nearly 40 million sites. It is estimated that China alone will have 60 million bloggers in a few years. Podcasting is taking off in a big way, as is blogging from the mobile. Sites like MySpace and Facebook have integrated blogging into social networks and self-expression pages. In India, blogging is still small in its use and impact, but will grow in the coming years.
I see blogging evolving in three different directions in the future building on the themes that we have seen in the recent past:
Mobile and Multimedia Blogging: This will be driven more from users in emerging markets like India and China. Empowered with phones which serve as digital cameras and voice (or video) recorders, mobile phones will widen the circle of bloggers. Not everyone wants to (or can) write, but anyone can take a photo and share it. Nokias recent campaign for its N-series mobile phones (or multimedia computers, as they aim to term the phones) is focused around moblogs. High-speed mobile data networks will bring alive the world of our friends and family on a device in our hands.
Corporate use of Blogs: This has been slower that I anticipated. Blogging is a great way to capture the tacit knowledge in people and an alternate to the cc/bcc email virus that we are all plagued by. But it is happening and will continue. It is less visible from the outside because it takes place behind firewalls. Blogs (along with wikis) are a nice way to capture internal information flows and build a repository of what people know and think.
Topic-based Public Aggregators: I may be biased here, but I think that the use of public aggregators like our MyToday will grow. Not everyone wants to create their own collection of feeds and then track them on an ongoing basis. I would much rather leave that work to experts and then follow the collective output of their writings in a river of news.
Personally, my blogging will continue. I feel more comfortable writing than speaking, so podcasts from me still are quite some time away! The look of the blog has remained pretty much the same over the past four years that is perhaps the only thing Id like to change. All in all, it has been a fascinating experience blogging, learning and meeting people I otherwise would probably never have come in contact with. Thats one thing Id like to go on and on and on.
TECH TALK Four Blog Years+T