Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why Blogging is Not a True Co-Technology

Speaking today in Tokyo at The New Context Conference 2010, the founder of Twitter, Biz Stone (pictured), put onto the record two sentences that will stand the test of time in the era of social computing:

"Twitter isn't a triumph of technology it's a triumph of humanity. A more connected world leads to a more empathic world."

Interestingly, Stone makes this observation in the self-same week that saw the sale of TechCrunch, Inc. to New York-based AOL - triggering a spate of commentaries along the lines of This Is the Death of Independent Blogging.

Is this an inflexion point? Hell, yes. And a big one. This week is also the week in which, as Guy Kawasaki reminds us, that Twitter's traffic overtook that of MySpace.

So what is going on? Why is independent blogging being characterized as dying at the very moment that tweeting is becoming as natural a part of the interconnected world as breathing?

The key, I believe, is in that word "ïnterconnected" - because blogging, for all its merits, has always suffered from that one huge shortcoming, namely that (notwithstanding the excellent innovations like RSS, Trackbacks, the Technorati real-time APIs and even Google's Blog Search) it truly isn't very interactive. I blog, you blog, he/she/it blogs. We hyperlink to each other, but that is about it. Blog feedback threads are frustratingly isolated silos. In fact, to be blunt, blogging is about as innovative a use of the Web as propping open your office door with a Xitami web server.

Tweeting, in contrast, is quite another pair of shoes. Twitter is a true co-technology. And only co-technologies will truly flourish, in the second decade of the 21st century.

Biz Stone is right: "A more connected world leads to a more empathic world." That is after all one of the pillars of co-intelligence, of the belief that none of us is as smart as all of us.

It is going to be the most interesting decade ever. You heard it here first!

Disclosure: I have never been a huge proponent of blogging, as made transparent by this 2007 article.

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