Isolation versus collaboration
Think of you and me right now separated by time and space, each individual thinking and working. If we had no electronic technology, we would be isolated and lack the ability to collaborate and communicate.
You have talents and knowledge that I don't possess. I have studied about literature, writing, and science, and more than likely you have ideas about these topics as well. If we were to collaborate, knowledge creation would increase exponentially because we could communicate ideas with one another. We would help each other.
Communication is essential to knowledge creation because two minds actively engaged are better than one acting independently. This is a generalization, but in most cases it stands true. Consider Columbus in 1492. If he were by himself with no crew or help, he would not have made the exploration that he is now famous for. A journey to a new land required collaboration, communication, and teamwork.
Humans are social creatures, and we function best when we work together. Not coincidentally, the tools we create work better when used in combination with other tools and workers. Computers are a prime example of the power that comes through collaboration.
Until the World Wide Web, computers stood in isolation, islands unto themselves, and while they had great computational power, the inability to communicate with one another hampered progress. Computer to computer communication revolutionized the way both people and technology do their work, enabling terrific advances because of the ability to collaborate.
The power of the social
Even once connected, the computers needed the assistance of humans to communicate effectively, and this is the environment in which weblogs (blogs) were born. With the communication tool of the blog, computers and people were able to interact, and collaborative creation increased exponentially.
In these logs individuals could capture their ideas, and other people could read and interpret them. Of course, this began slowly in the hands of computer technicians, but by the late 1990s computer programmers and software developers were able to make web publishing tools available to the common person, and blogs evolved into a widely used vehicle for the communication of ideas.
As more people blogged and the Internet developed, both people and computers became less isolated, more social. In most cases, this has been a tremendous advantage, and the extent of human knowledge has accelerated remarkably as a result. The power of individuals connected through technology has created a different human network. We are more social than ever, and while blogging was the initial social network, variations naturally evolved, with Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn making social communication even easier than before. The networks grow increasingly complex, making blogging more complicated and collaborative.
Some thought that blogs would disappear as a result of the social media, but they won't vanish. Other social networks have served to make blogging more effective, efficient, and productive. We forget that blogging is at the heart of Internet content, and the social media largely disseminate their information and provide means for discussion. Social mediums will come and go, but not the first and most powerful - blogs.
We have entered an era of hyper-social-blogging, where the blogs themselves communicate, but equally important, people discuss and share the content through social media. Blogs have evolved far from web logs.
The integration of those two words now is in flux, in the same way the nature of blogging and social networking are evolving ultra fast. Though not originally intended this way, weblog can be read as (we)blog. The social development of blogging is embedded in the name itself, with the collective we doing the communicating.
I believe this is more than just a silly rewording or wordplay, but re-conceiving the term creates an important distinction, reflecting the history and evolution from weblog to blog to (we)blog. Current thinkers in social media recognize a change in blogging, so the idea is not new. But I contend that we’ve moved into a new era on the Internet, in blogging, and in social media, and the people who write and share blog posts are part of a complex mechanism of communication, an important, central axis. Therefore, perhaps it is useful to think of the word weblog as taking on a different definition which emphasizes the social, (we)blog.
However you deal with the semantics, bloggers are the hub of content on the internet, and the fact that (we)blog generates, develops, communicates, and advances knowledge. This is my first (we)blog post.
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By Darin L. Hammond
Writer for ZipMinis and owns ZipMinis Freelance Writing. Darin Publishes across the web on sites like Technorati, BC Blog, Blog Critics, Broowaha, Demand Media Studios, and Social Media Today. Google
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