Sunday, April 03, 2005

Converting from just a "user" to being part of a "culture"

Lois Ambash, who I met earlier this year at the NewComm Forum contributed an article to this month's New Communications Blogzine.

The topic: Talking to non-techies about blogs and blogging.

She offers much of the standard advice and reiterates a point I think is really important: don't just evangelize blogs, evangelize feed reader applications. The quickest way for someone to try and then abandon blog reading is to quickly become overwhelmed...information overload. Reader apps are the only reasonable way (currently) to manage lots of blog reading comfortably. As I've recommended before: help people set up accounts with Bloglines or other apps. Get them started. It is a much easier way for them to see for themselves how addictive blog reading is, and how naturally you can grow your blog library.

Something else Lois said really struck a chord with me:

"Do all people who rely on e-mail, conduct simple Google searches, and engage in the occasional IM exchange feel a part of the online culture? My guess is, No way. Most people who go online view these digital functions simply as necessary business tools. They no more consider themselves part of “the online culture” than they consider themselves part of “the auto-repair culture” just because they take their cars into the shop every few months. We may be enthralled by the social and business potential of blogging, by its mechanics, its vocabulary, and its auxiliary tools. But we delude ourselves if we think most other people share our enthusiasm."

So true! And I often use my own story as an example:

Up until I got my iMac (my first Mac after a lifetime of PC use) about three years ago I saw the computer and the Internet as pure efficiency tools. I used them almost exclusively for work, and on the personal side I used it for email and nothing else. If I played games it was on my Playstation. If I listened to music, it was on my CD player, or car stereo. I didn't own a camera, and I certainly didn't write for pleasure.

When I got my Mac I started out messing with iTunes and my new iPod. Then I got a digital camera and started messing around with iPhoto including posting my photos to a web page that my dotMac service made incredibly simple to set up. Then, the critical juncture: I got iBlog as a free download when I renewed my dotMac membership.

Where I was once using the computer and the Internet as "necessary tools", I soon became someone who was part of an online culture.

Ever person is going to have a different interest or passion that drives them to appreciate what the blog culture delivers. Perhaps for some it will be the new NASCAR enthusiast blogs, maybe for some the foodie blogs, maybe for some my very own theatre blogs, maybe for some it's political blogs. For one prospective client I spent some time recently finding out that there is a large medical blogging community. Who knew? UNtil then, not me.

if someone gets personally drawn into reading and commenting on blogs, they are far more likely to understand how a blog might be right for their business. And given the breadth of examples I was just able to toss out with very little effort, it seems that nearly every kind of business can figure out a way to leverage these tools.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?