Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The importance of being blog

Always On, which claims to be an open source media network, is "Live Video Blogging" from the World Economic Forum in Davos. What they do is they are making the speeches available online, with no way to permalink to the site where the videostream is, and with no comments. Just a window to peek in.

I thought there was a word for this, called "webcast". I am a little at loss as to what makes this a video blog. But it seems like Always On have decided that all they do is blogging:
The mission was to borrow on the underground blogging tradition and produce online services, live events and a magazine that encouraged direct collaboration between global thought leaders and technology industry insiders whose ideas and innovations are shaping the always-on world. Since AO’s inception insiders like Michael Powell, Tim Draper, Jonathan Schwartz and hundreds of other AO members have taken advantage of this open environment to post their ideas and meet like-minded technology insiders from all over the planet.

No other media brand currently allows the level of openness and collaboration between its members. David Kirkpatrick of Fortune predicted the same month we launched our network in February of 2003, “AlwaysOn will define an entire new approach to technologized media.”

Plenty of interesting statements here. First "The underground tradition of blogging." Is this underground? Is there a tradition? You mean I have been working traditional underground blogging style all these years, and never knew! Wonder how the college feels about that - I mean, Academia is pretty alternative at time, but underground it isn't!

Then there's the concept "blogozine":
AlwaysOn (along with its members) will launch a new magazine—making it the first "blogozine" to hit the market...or whatever you want to call it.

But it turns out that since Always On think they are blogging, a magazine that thinks it's blogging has to be a blogozine. And the reason for this new, amazing, wondrous, revolutionary, open source, underground (add words with positive connotations for new media literate readers here) blogozine is pretty much the same as the reason for the promotional blogging we have discussed before.
The “referral power” of the blogosphere is also exploding. Even though the top blog site,, is viewed by only 350,000 unique viewers a month versus the top media site, (which attracts 7 million unique viewers), the Times nets only twice as many “inbound links” as Slashdot. PR professionals and corporate marketing executives must now acknowledge this growing alternative media force, and have a strategy to deal with it.

While the development of sites such as Always On, who basically use the word "blog" to mean "the cool stuff that gets a lot of press and which will make people nod impressed when we use it for our business idea", makes me sad, in a way it is also very clear, honest and upfront about their activity. Something as powerful as the referral power of individuals can not go unexploited, we understand that. And this is open about it: we know which site we are on, we know they want to have and make an impact, and their are clear about their reason for creating this -zine. That is very different from the promotion of products in individual blogs.

Still, it makes me wonder: at what point will the word "blog" lose all meaning, and end up at the churchyard of over-abused concepts?

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