On one of the writing lists I’m on, there’s a great discussion right now about whether there’s a meaningful market for books on blogging, and there are two main categories of responses. One is “What’s a blog? Isn’t that just a diary? Why would someone need a book on how to write a diary?” and the other camp is represented by “maybe I’d buy a book if the author had a unique perspective on what to do with blogs, but it sure doesn’t seem like a very big market.”
Here are my two cents on this subject: books about blogging are going to be boring, just another subset of books about writing (the vast majority of which seem to miss what I view as the essence of learning how to write, which is to write. Peter Elbow captures this in his great book Writing Without Teachers).
To me, though, blogging is just a tool. What’s important is that the locus
of control with Websites has moved from the technicians to the creators. If
you have a static Web site (that is, one that isn’t built around a content
management system) then I bet you haven’t added a new page to the site for
at least 45 days. It’s just too much hassle. Further, I bet your web site
pages don’t all interlink either.
Huge crisis? Depends. Do you actually want to be findable in search
engines? For that matter, how do your customers find you, your products, or your services?
By contrast, a weblog offers you the ability to sit down and write about
whatever you want to share with your online community, be it politics, an
award you won, a new product launch, or even a particularly delightful
customer testimonial you just got via email. I don’t agree with Free Software Foundation head Richard Stallman
that information wants to be free, but I do believe that there’s a lot of
information that wants to be disseminated but isn’t because the tools of
communication are in the way.
I have a new book coming out in about four months from Penguin/Alpha that
begins to capture my thoughts on this subject from a business perspective.
It’s not about how to blog, how to write for blogs or even why to blog. It’s
about how systems like weblogs are fundamentally changing the landscape of
business and how you can take advantage of that for your own company. Oh,
and it mentions a little company called Google too. 🙂
Pssst… if you want to know more about this book, pop over to the Website that I’m building for it: findability.info.