Thursday, February 10, 2005

Blogging 1.0... and 2.0

This is prompted by a post by venture capitalists Fred Wilson at his AVC blog. He describes what he sees as the difference between Blogging 1.0 and Blogging 2.0. For me, as a newcomer to blogging, but not to the web, 2.0 is what I think of as blogging, or what I see it turning into.

Blogging 1.0 refers to sites like Geocities and About.com. Geocites was acquired by Yahoo, while About.com is apparently about to be acquired by the New York Times company. So two things that Geocities and About have in common are survival (i.e. both still exist) and acqusition. Another thing they have in common is that they are both intolerable, to me at least, due to ads that annoy and distract me.

Fred identifies four main differences between Blogging 1.0 and 2.0. They are:
  1. The post as the unit of content.
  2. The permalink, which makes it possible to refer to a specific post.
  3. RSS.
  4. Cost per click (CPC) ads and contextual ads.
I don't want to paraphrase Fred's four points, since they are his points, and he makes them clearly in the post to which I've linked. Besides, the fact that I am responding to a specific AVC post, and enabling you to click over to it via its permalink, illustrates the first two of his points.

It's Fred's fourth aspect of Blogging 2.0 that concerns me. I'm hoping that Blogging 2.0, and, more generally, Web 2.0, will not be made unbearable by ads. My hope takes something of a knock when I visit the blog of one of the people Fred hails as an important builder of Blogging 2.0. When I visit Jason Calacanis' blog, the above-the-fold portion is so dominated by ads that I just want to get away from the page. If Jason is one of the architects of Blogging 2.0, and the entrance to his office is so bedecked with ill-matched fliers, then I fear that 2.0 is an ugly destination.

I suspect that I'm overreacting to one blog, which is just one of the web sites with which just one of the people seen as important to Blogging 2.0 is associated. My reaction centres only on the fourth of Fred's four differences, and I certainly don't deny the importance of each of the first three. Neither do I deny the importance of the fourth; there's a lot more unobtrusive and even useful advertising on the web than there used to be. I think that my (over)reaction is driven in part by the vehemence of Jason's post on Bloglines, which was driven in part by his objection to Bloglines selling advertising against his blog.

I just hope that, if it's useful to talk of version 2.0 of blogging, or of the web, then the new version will not be rendered unbearable by ads.