I was talking to a colleague at “Tucows”:http://www.tucows.com/ and we hit on something I’d experienced before, but hadn’t quite formalized into a structured idea.
The issue at hand was “what is the proper way to ‘test’ a new blogging platform – or blogging in general for that matter?”
To me the biggest benefit of having a blog is not “publishing a personal diary” but “sharing thoughts with the world”. The impact of blogging on your ability to share with others only happens if others can in fact share – otherwise you are just talking to yourself.
And therein lies the problem.
If you are “just testing” blogging, or a new platform like “vox”:http://kenschafer.vox.com/, you don’t really want to tell people it’s only a test and that you might not keep it going.
In a nutshell, *without committing to blogging it is very hard to get the benefits of blogging.* My guess is the blogosphere is strewn with “hello world”:http://technorati.com/search/%22hello%20world%22?language=en&authority=n blog posts that are the first and last post because it is impossible to see the benefit of post number two.
This is a bigger problem than it might seem. Many new businesses depend on social networking models and those almost by definition mean *they only work once you are in fact social.*
If we can’t push visitors past the “just looking around” stage how will we get them to see the value? Think about all the people you’ve told about “LinkedIn”:http://www.linkedin.com/ who only added one contact and stopped not realizing that the darn thing only makes sense after you have a few people with good networks in your network. How many “Flickr accounts”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenschafer/ are abandoned after people realize they have no one to share their snapshots with? How’s your Web 2.0 social dream site going to get over the “just looking/I don’t get it” hurdle?