Sunday, November 27, 2011

Blogs and social network

As a blogger, I have been writing on and off for little over a year.  When starting, I had committed myself to write once a day, but with my workload it proved to be a difficult commitment to keep.  These days perhaps I've slacked off too much, not even posting a blog per week.

When I first started writing, the most difficult thing was finding readers.  How do you know whether anyone is reading your blog?  If you wrote something that no one cared to read, is it not a complete waste of time?  Well, I believe it is not a waste of time.  It's because when you write something it helps you think logically and organize your thoughts into black and white.  It's amazing how often I found myself changing my opinion once I started writing a blog entry.  When you are thinking about things in your head without sequencing them as one logical argument, it is hard to make your argument clear even for yourself.
While thinking about my short blogging history, it got me paused to think about the blogs and social networks, in particular how they are similar yet different from each other.

As Om Malik points out on his post (and Fred Wilson's A VC blog demonstrates with active viewer's comments), blogging is about building a community.  Exchanging comments, sharing ideas, and connecting with people by sharing one's perspective is at the core of blogging.  I think that is why everyone often asks  existential questions at the beginning of any blog.  It's difficult to create a community unless the blogger has interesting perspective to share about the topics that people care about.

Social networking is very similar to blogs.  It's about connecting people and communicating with them.  Your personal relationship and interests are mapped to cyberspace.  This allows people to subscribe updates from friends and talk about common interests and events.  After all, most social networking sites offer microblogging (aka status update) capability.

But one notable difference between blogging and social networking is content.  Blogs start out with creating and sharing content first, whereas social networks started with connecting people by creating and sharing status updates.  Perhaps the precipitous growth of social media is the one to be blamed for stagnant content creator percentage.

Despite the difference, blogging and social networking share the core theme: being social.  With out reader, blogging loses its meaning; without friends, social networking loses its core value.

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