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Blogs And Wikis Change The Dynamics Of Business

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Tom Foremski, publisher of Silicon Valley Watcher and ex-FT correspondent, writes a terrific piece …

in Financial Times on a new phase of the internet that’s emerging, fuelled by a new class of technologies coming out of Silicon Valley that don’t even have a name yet, but have the potential to be disruptive in their application.

Blogs and wikis are shaping up to become one of the most important features of “internet 2.0,” Tom says, which could become recognized as the “killer applications” of the next few years:

Let me explain why I think these technologies are so groundbreaking. [...] The content of blogs is not the interesting part – it is the underlying blogging software and its ability to automate the many tasks required to run a website. No technical skills are required of the writer, beyond being able to use a browser and the ability to type.

For less than $100, blogging software such as the popular Movable Type, from Six Apart, is a good enough replacement for online content management systems costing more than 1,000 times as much.

The disruptive potential Tom speaks about is to do with communicating and distributing content via mechanisms such as trackbacks and RSS:

Trackback automatically detects if someone has published a link to your blog post, and it will publish their comment on your blog. [...] The response of readers to a news story, for example, can be plainly seen in real-time. It also means that other bloggers, by writing a comment and publishing a link to the original story, become distributors of that content to their readers. And it shows that if the content is relevant, an audience will find it, and also personally recommend it to others through their blogs.

RSS is another way to distribute blog content. It allows readers to subscribe to a blog and read the content without having to visit the originating site. RSS makes it possible to aggregate the content from several sites within software called a “newsreader.”

Tom’s article adds to the growing pool of information in business media about such new communication channels that’s now becoming almost a flood.

Financial Times | Blogging technology opens doors for enterprises (paid subscription required)

Tom was a participant in the New Communications Forum 2005 conference in California last month – which he mentions in the FT article – on the blogging and journalism panel discussion. He said then:

Blogs are an incredible medium and will change the economic dynamics of whole sectors of industry. [...] If you create value, people will find you and talk about you. It’s an automatic feedback mechanism. As a media pro, I can see so many ways of using blogs. I can experiment with new forms of writing that’s away from the old print model. Concentrate on compelling and original content, the rest will take care of itself.

Neville Hobson is the author of the popular NevilleHobson.com blog which focuses on business communication and technology.

Neville is currentlly the VP of New Marketing at Crayon. Visit Neville Hobson’s blog: NevilleHobson.com.

Blogs And Wikis Change The Dynamics Of Business
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