I'm reading Scott Rosenberg's Say Everything at the moment and believe he's got the right take when he puts blogging into the mix of online conversation by pointing out how there needs to be a core of bloggers writing down things that can trickle into a meaningful lifestream. In my realm as a third level lecturer, blogging connects people in relationships that lead to jobs, often by motivating students to stay with the programme as they develop higher levels of proficiency in both design and programming.
By looking at blogs that several talented students at Tipperary Institute have produced (like Wannita above right), I've copped onto the fact that people are consuming content in different ways and at different intervals. My RSS stats have identified firehose readers. The stats suggest they are scrolling through headlines and seeing previews of content before quickly moving on. I can see people arriving from Facebook onto my blog too but I know that I get many more comments written on my Facebook profile about things that I blog. Those commenters don't even know I have a masthead and a Flickr photostream--but that's not important. They see content in a stream of other information, interact with it by commenting, and even send me direct mail through Facebook if I don't post an item for several days.
I can also see people landing on different pages in search of information they asked about on Google. They drop by, read a little, then get distracted by a LinkedWithin pointer to related content. Fact is, most of those things "you might also like" have little to do with the original search request. That doesn't stop people from having a goo at the stuff. Their ability to get easily distracted has totally empowered me to write about a wider range of soft topics here, instead of focusing on more arcane technical items.
I feel very indebted to Dave Winer for helping to hammer out the RSS specification because that's actually the plumbing that pulls this site into the crosshairs of unexpected readers. RSS is also powering a lot of Twitter's ecosystem. And although I have a presence on Twitter, it's here on my Inside View weblog that I want to stay. I've got to tweak some of the architecture before the next academic term starts because I feel more than a generation behind second year students who will return to campus expecting to be led to a higher level.
Scott Rosenberg -- Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What it's Becoming, and Why It Matters ISBN 9780307451361