Next Generation Blogging Tools

Jay McCarthy: A Vision of Next Generation Blogging Tools

Dave Winer posed a question on the BloggerCon site for discussion, perhaps at BloggerCon II.

Premise: We've reached a plateau in blogging tools. There haven't been a lot of changes in the last two or three of years. The growth continues, lots more weblogs, and we've got better tools for reading (aggregators).

Question: What's next in writing tools for weblogs? If you could influence people who are making the tools, what feature or features would you want? Think as big as you like, or as detailed as you like. What bug is most in your way. Ramble, please. Is there one thing you'd kill for? Or perhaps you're satisfied with the tools as they are. I hope your comments are on the record so I can assemble a quote sheet as the beginning of a conversation that I hope will yield better tools for all of us.

I am attempting to summarize some of the discussion that was generated by this, as archived in the comments and the TrackBacks.

Lots of good ideas. I'm a bit uncomfortable with the conclusion though:

Jason Fried thinks that the discussion is too focused on features. He says that the problem with blogging is not that there are key features missing, but that people don't "get it" and it needs to be simpler.

A note from me on Fried: Perhaps the discussion should be split in two: How to make blogging more accessible to more people, and how to make blogging more featured for the "experts." Basically some people need to work at getting what we already have to the masses, while others look at what's next...

Simplifying things is something IT is good at, but I'm not sure that "the masses" will ever embrace weblogs, even if they end up being a no-brainer. It is a very demanding activity, not every one can/want/has the time to produce content that fits a weblog. Sure, more and more people will "get it", but the masses? May be I'm too pessimistic in thinking that there will always be a huge imbalance between consumers and producers of content.

1 Comment

I think that weblogs can ultimately be as widespread as email addresses, to the point of having more than one per person.
I find that weblogs facilitate contact: there are many people I didn't get nor ask news from regularly: now that they blog, I can know all that happens to them, every day. Writing/reading a blog is much less intrusive than asking/sending news to someone. If you feel like reading, you read it. If you feel like skipping parts, you do. If you don't read it for a while, there's no impatience on the other side.
I can totally imagine grandparents writing inanities, knowing their grandchildren would come by and read once in a while. Or a group of friends staying in touch. Or a family. Or a class. Or any group of people, for any reason.
And, on the professional level, I think weblogs can be quite a good collaboration tool. Because it's simple, even obvious, and completely natural.

In this aspect, I'd say the feature that blogging software developers should focus on right now is access rights management: make it as simple to restrict access to a blog as it is to create one, and you could substantially expand the user base.

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