Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mesh Conference Update

For those of you who were worried by my last post, don't worry. The fire was a false alarm and everything worked out.

The Mesh conference wrapped up yesterday but I've been busy all day and didn't get around to filing an update until just now. And I see that my last post did generate some worries (although I doubt you were really worried!)

The 2-day event was a real success, in my view. But you don't have to take my word for it. You can see a lot of other blog posts on Technorati or you can check out the conference Wiki, where you'll find lots of details about what went on. I'm putting together a highlights package for the folks back at the office and I'll post that here when I'm finished.

For now, let me offer a few of my own insights.

First and foremost, this is a really happening business - this whole Web 2.0 thing. A lot of very smart people are involved and they are passionate about what they're doing. We talked a lot about how the promise of the Internet (the ability to make so much information available to so many people) which was promised, but not followed through on, with Web 1.0 is now arriving. The advent of improved broadband and more sophisticated business models (and a healthy dose of reality) all makes for an exciting business model that is working.

There are companies out there doing really exciting things and making money at it. Some more than others, of course. Blogging is one area where there is a lot of skepticism about whether there is a viable business model. But personally, I can't get too excited about monetization. Most of the bloggers I know are in it because they want to be and they're passionate about writing their blog. If they do end up finding a way to make a few bucks, so much the better, but making money is not the reason they're doing it. And I'm not sure that anyone could sustain a blog (or an audience) if they didn't have the passion we admire.

That being said, there is a difference between a business blog and a personal blog. Some blogs, like this one, are a bit of both. And that seems OK. But I suspect that as this segment matures, we're going to see a stronger separation of the two. The great thing about the Internet is the way it can support both types (and plenty of others as well) so easily. There seems to be a blog about almost everything out there and they've all got some kind of an audience.

I'll wrap this up (because that early morning train arrives early!) by noting that a common thread talked about by everyone at the conference, no matter what their role, was the necessity for transparency in this new world. As Steve Rubel noted, "The blogosphere is the greatest fact-checking machine ever developed." If you lie, or try to stretch the truth online, you will be found out and you will suffer for it.

And that is a good thing.

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2 comments:

Ann Handley said...

"That being said, there is a difference between a business blog and a personal blog. <...> But I suspect that as this segment matures, we're going to see a stronger separation of the two."

You might be right, Dave. But I sort of hope not. I think one informs the other -- and I for one really enjoy getting a sense of a person from both perspectives when I read their blogs.

My guess is that individual bloggers will continue to mix bits of the personal with business, just as they always have. But moving forward, blogs and bloggers will increasingly aggregate -- and some of the personal stuff will then be lost.

Dave said...

Ann -- I agree that it's the personal nature of the posts that make blogging a unique medium for me. And I don't want to lose that connection. I've been pondering my own future as far as whether I should continue to mix as much personal stuff (like my Proud Papa Rowing Updates, for example) in with a blog that is also a vehicle for me to talk about communications-related issues.

But I've also come to think that this blog is a reflection of me in total. If you hire me as a consultant, I still bring all the parts of me and my personality that show up here all the time. The transparent nature of this medium means that what you see here is what you're going to get when you meet me -- at least that's what I think it should mean. If we move towards a more "professional" or "business-oriented" focus, to the exclusion of the personal, I think we'll be losing the best part of the blogosphere. So I won't be doing that. For now, TheDailyUpload will remain my view on things - business and personal. And I welcome everyone to participate.