Past, Present and Future of Blogging
Nico Macdonald “puts Weblogging in the context of the history of online publishing, explaining its novelty and value, and indicating where it needs to innovate. He concludes with a proposal encouraging publishers to properly embrace the Weblogging model.” A few interesting points:
Another challenge presented by the proliferation of writing is how we readers and writers might document, manage and use this profusion of information. It is certainly a step forward that Weblog posts have permanent links. But there are so many Weblogs and so many posts that they are impossible to contextualise, at least in their current format of endless scrolling lists. RSS readers are a step forward in that they allow readers to review Weblogs and posts using hierarchical structures, get an overview of unread posts, and hide those that have been read. We need to find ways to categorise posts to bring the kind of structure that Yahoo! brought to Web sites and the seeds of this concept can be seen in Moveable Type, NewsMonster and other tools. We also need to find ways of assigning priority to posts based on who wrote them (often referred to as reputation management) and where they were posted. Gillmor recognises this issue. Discussing current newsreaders he notes that [t]hey assign equal weight to everything they display. So the headlines and text from Joes Weblog get roughly the same display treatment as material from, say, the New York Times. Instead he would like more flexibility, more nuance, such as the ability to highlight by topic, by writer, by popularity and other measures.
At a presentational level we need to find ways to visualise the blogosphere (and not just the blogosphere). We need to be able to use our chosen parameters and employ the visual axes of typography, size, colour, and spatial relationship to help exploit our underemployed visual powers to aid our understanding. We also need to employ reader interaction to assist with navigation and organisation of the blogosphere.