Tuesday, November 4, 2008, was a historic day for our nation. Yes, that is the day I quietly celebrated my five-year anniversary of blogging. (please hold your applause) On that day in 2003, I embarked on my inaugural voyage into the blogosphere. And, let me tell you, a lot has changed in five years.
I went from knightopia.com version 1.0 to 3.0 without nary a nod to 2.0 in between. As far as I can tell, Web 2.0 was a transitional time for the Web marked more by style than substance. It was fun while it lasted, but we are in a really exciting time for the Web now.
The revolution we are a part of now is best described as Socialism. No, just kidding! (Just a little election humor there for ya. *wink wink*) The real revolution is the Social Media revolution—the rise of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, as well as the “socialization” of just about every other form of electronic media via RSS feeds and other forms of sharing information.
What’s Next on the Web?
A few weeks ago, my wife and I both attended the ConvergeSouth conference in Greensboro, NC, where we heard from a number of Internet rock stars, including Anil Dash (Chief Evangelist for Six Apart) and Robert Scoble (former technical evangelist for Microsoft, current video blogger for FastCompany.tv).
Just the fact that my wife attended this conference with me is a major change from five years ago. Back then, blogging had very little relevance to her, but today she is involved through her work with maintaining several blogs and is developing her own blog, as well. She went from a non-blogger to a multi-site blogger, really over the last two years!
So what did we learn about the future of the Web at ConvergeSouth? I’d say the major take-away for me was that blogs and websites will really be “opening up” and becoming much more social as things like OpenID, Facebook Connect, and Google Friend Connect come online and begin to be used far and wide. (OpenID is available now, and you’ll see you can login on this site now to post comments using your OpenID.)
Interestingly, Scoble was encouraging people to standardize on the FriendFeed platform, while Dash was the the one who cautioned us to stay “platform neutral” (my description, not his). Dash suggested we make our personal websites and blogs our aggregator for all the streams of our online identity (“ID as URL”). As Dash put it,
“The future vision is going to be … uniting social presences together into one place.”
Here is some more Web 3.0/social media wisdom from Mr. Dash (as captured by ConvergeSouth2008 Twitterers):
“Today’s mainstream social networks look like yesterday’s traditional media.” (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn look like ABC, CBS, NBC.)
“FriendFeed is another silo.”
“‘I’m a blogger’ used to mean something. Now it’s like saying ‘I’m an emailer.’ ‘Oh really? I have a cellphone!'”
“The goal (of blogging) was never to destroy mainstream media. It was never ‘us vs. them.’ It was always just us.”
“Social media isn’t based on doctrine, dogma or [tech] religion. It’s about people sharing and communicating.”
“Innovations come from people using the tools. People are wired to communicate.”
“The thing that is different in the social web, it lets us maintain relationships.”
“Social media doesn’t have to be controlled by the people with technical knowledge.”
“The biggest social network is the Web.”
“Outside of the U.S., most social Web interaction is done from the cellphone.”
On “the blogosphere”: “There isn’t one. There are many.”
(e.g., mommy blogs, tech blogs, emerging church blogs, etc.)
“Schism is a sign of a healthy community.”
“It’s not about feeds, it’s about relationships.”
Where Do I Go From Here?
For many of my friends, Facebook has become the preferred platform for interaction—and I plan to continue posting things to stir up conversation over there—but I was convinced by Dash not to migrate entirely to one platform. His argument: Who knows what the new Facebook will be in six months?
In that sense, the rationale for owning one’s online presence, on one’s own URL—feeding all of one’s content streams into one reservoir of information and activity (i.e., “lifestreaming”)—is pragmatic, really. Change happens. Five years from now, who knows what platforms, applications, tools, and systems we’ll be using …