1 billion blogs by 2010? How did this happen?
Truly the next killer app of the internet is 'self expression'.
Email and IM were the first killer apps. Why? Humans are social creatures and therefore making contact with others is vitally important. In terms of technology, that's the low hanging fruit. People connected to the internet to get in touch with each other.
When they connected, I guess we all thought the same thing: what do I do now? Higher up the tree is not just connecting to other people, but interacting with them. So then we saw podcasting, blogging, discussion lists, owning your own website, leaving comments after reading an article someone else posted. These are all further up the tree and a little more interactive, dependant on other people already. A term called prosumer (consumer + producer) would best describe these types of people: they are very active.
I think we're about to see something newer. (I'm late to this game, I can't claim any credit for this. I'm simply standing on everyone else's shoulders who have gone before.) The next level up the tree is all about expressing yourself and showing your world view and how you piece life together.
Clearly blogs which are used for self expression are a form of this. Podcasting is the epitome of the prosumer, the highest that level will get. Podcasts are linear, from the beginning to the end. The viewer is a passive consumer, they are not as interactive, they are more of a throwback to TV. Portable TV.
Podcasts have "normal" humor (did you hear the one about…) while blogs can invent new kinds of interactive jokes. I'm saying Podcasts are the end of the previous trend.
Blogs tend to be more about self-expression, interactive, non-linear – and self-expression will only pick up steam because there are so many things we can express about ourselves. One of these things which we are always trying to express in every conversation we have is: our world view. How many times have you said "well, I don't see it that way" or "I respect your opinion and you have to respect mine too!".
Self expression is currently about writing out your thoughts. That's cool. Self expression can also be about tying together many many other people's comments and bringing them together in a way which defines your view on life.
While everyone else is simply tagging the river of news as it flows by, we will allow you to make your own streams and rivulets and redirect them where you think they should go.
It's the whole tomato, tomato thing. I see the word stream and think river. You may see stream and think "Standard Tensioned Replenishment Alongside Method", or "Stratosphere-Troposphere Experiments by Aircraft Measurements", or "Stream Transport and Agricultural Runoff of Pesticides for Exposure Assessment Methodology" which all have the acronym stream.
The news is the same, but my context is different to yours. You only have to look at the whole cartoon debacle to see that people view the same information completely differently and with different intensities!