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Make way for the superblogs

If a blog has contributors, researchers, marketers, and technical staff, is it still a blog? In the past decade, the humble web diary has turned into a serious industry.

Back in the good old days before anyone knew about the Hampster Dance or how evil Bert from Sesame Street was, the online diary or weblog was a quaint little means of posting musings and opinions onto the internet. Now, look what has happened! The burgeoning blogosphere is bloated with well over 100 million blogs and some of them are worth millions of dollars. Blogging has become a serious business (see ‘Turn knowledge into money online’, p30).

It is nothing short of a media explosion, with some blogs trumping mainstream media as the go-to source for news, information, entertainment, and opinion. With an entry-level of zero dollars, immediacy hitherto impossible, and a potential global audience of billions, blog sites are perfect launch pads for anyone wanting to participate in the global conversation.

In reality, the biggest blogs – let’s call them super blogs – are more like traditional media outlets, with teams of contributors, marketing departments, researchers, and technical staff bringing it all together. The world’s biggest current affairs blog, HuffingtonPost. com, even calls itself an online newspaper. One needs an HR army to keep the content flowing at such a torrential rate to hold the oh-so-fickle and easily distracted web surfer.

That doesn’t mean you can’t start from humble beginnings and go a long way on the power of one. joelonsoftware. com is essentially a one-man show, banging out an endless stream of articles to a large and dedicated following of tech-heads. freelanceswitch.com began as a spin-off from local entrepreneur Collis Ta’eed’s personal blog and has now spawned a veritable suite of blogs, tutorials, and online marketplaces. His e-book How To Be A Rockstar WordPress Designer is an excellent primer if you feel the urge to follow in his footsteps and blog your way to fame and fortune.

To get a complete overview of the super blog megascope, start with technorati.com. It keeps a regular tab on the biggest and most popular blogs, as well as providing profiles, reports, reviews, and instruction in the art of blogging.

Everything under the sun is being blogged; it’s a surfer’s paradise. Technology? Try arstechnica.com, engadget.com, and techcrunch.com. Business? sethgodin.typepad.com and bloggingstocks.com. Humor? icanhascheezburger.com.

The only problem these days is how to balance the rest of our existence with our endless blog-watching.

The best thing about any blog, large or small, is the two-way conversation it facilitates because readers get to post their own comments right there on the page. Sure, it might seem a little futile, trying to be heard among such a cacophony of buzz, but somehow our opinions and ideas begin resonating and harmonizing into a chorus. The best ideas win out. The dubious ones are decimated with wit and brute force.

If I can give any advice about blogs and super blogs this month, it is to get among them. Participate. Put a blog on your own website or find someone to help you. Express whatever thoughts you might have until you get really good at it. Find like-minded people and support them. In the end, the entire internet is one Brobdingnagian blog. In these rather volatile times, such a massive exchange of ideas could be our only hope. Blog on! #

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