The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

BLOGGING TO ENTER THE AOL MAINSTREAM
If you thought blogging had already reached the masses, think again. Only after AOL unleashes it's integrated blogging software to the 34 million subscribers on its service will you see the blogosphere more fully opened to the hoi polloi. Like it or not.

As is always the case, the long (and even not-so-long) established blogging enthusiasts will instantly turn up their noses toward these Johnny-come-latelies, and a distinct class system will develop. I can just hear all the gasps and groans now: "I can't believe the kind of crap these AOL Journals waste their time on!" And etc.

Right off the bat, the decision to forego the common term "blogs" in favor of the less-confusing "journals" will spark a lot of hemming and hawing from bloggers. The choice of one or the other in the coming months will serve as a marker distinguishing trusted veteran from suspicious newbie.

I think we can also look forward to all those people on AOL suddenly chatting up the wonders of their newly-discovered blogging capabilities, and extolling everyone within earshot about how they have to sign up for AOL because it's the "only" way they can experience this phenomenon! Typical AOLer behavior; just like in years past, they'd think the only way to get email, web browsing and all those other standards was through AOL, because they foolishly equate AOL with the Internet. I think I was that naive, once. In 1994 or so.

It'll all be fun to watch.

Further Thoughts: I neglected to mention that this development is also the first real head-to-head battle between Internet powerhouses AOL and Google, owner of Blogger, which is currently considered the ground-level way to start blogging. AOL is obviously aiming at Blogger's bread-and-butter here. The killer apps at play here are the auto-blogging features: For Google, the 2.0 version of the Google Toolbar add-on for IE, that includes an instant Blog This button; and for AOL, the ability to instantly post IMings to you blog/journal.