I was talking to a colleague at “Tucows” and we hit on something I’d experienced before but hadn’t quite formalized into a structured idea.
The issue at hand was “what is the proper way to ‘test’ a new blogging platform — or blogging in general for that matter?” To me, the biggest benefit of having a blog is not “publishing a personal diary” but “sharing thoughts with the world”. The impact of blogging on your ability to share with others only happens if others can in fact share — otherwise you are just talking to yourself. And therein lies the problem. If you are “just testing” blogging, or a new platform like “vox”, you don’t really want to tell people it’s only a test and that you might not keep it going. In a nutshell, without committing to blogging it is very hard to get the benefits of blogging.
My guess is the blogosphere is strewn with “hello world” blog posts that are the first and last post because it is impossible to see the benefit of post number two.
This is a bigger problem than it might seem. Many new businesses depend on social networking models and those almost by definition mean they only work once you are in fact social. If we can’t push visitors past the “just looking around” stage how will we get them to see the value? Think about all the people you’ve told about “LinkedIn” who only added one contact and stopped not realizing that the darn thing only makes sense after you have a few people with good networks in your network. How many “Flickr accounts” are abandoned after people realize they have no one to share their snapshots with?
How’s your Web 2.0 social dream site going to get over the “just looking/I don’t get it” hurdle?
Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on August 24, 2006.