Last week, Headshift co-hosted a blogging seminar with Six Apart, the makers of the Movable Type blogging platform. I wanted to talk about different types of blogs as a way of explaining why corporate and media blogs need to move away from one way publishing in favour of joining and participating in conversations.
As I was preparing my presentation, I got thinking about the apple tree at the bottom of the garden.
The first year I lived there the apple tree produced bunches of lovely apples. The impact of that tree didn’t, at least on the face of things, go much beyond the garden fence. This is like a personal blog, or web diary – the audience is small, intimately known, and very attentive. The purpose of such a blog is to superserve that audience, not to reach out to a new audience.
The second year there were only a handful of blossoms in the spring and, despite several attempts to fertilise and water the tree back into fruit bearing, only 3 or 4 apples made it through the summer. This was because, although our apple tree remained the focus of our attention, the neighbour had cut down her trees and, with them, the blossoms that bees used to cross polinate my tree in previous years had disappeared. This is like the expert blog, where the author finds content – a photo, article, youtube video, etc – and shows it to their audience. The focus is still on publishing, upon having a one way, top down conversation, but at least it uses the web as a resource from which it can grow.
Then there are orchards, which have many trees and many many bees, from which grow huge amounts of apples. Those apples can be sent out the be sold at markets, where someone who came to buy cucumbers might see them and take one home, or be used to make cider, pies, or a whole host of other products. This is like a blog as a node in a conversation – they link out, comment, participate widely, pull and push content around, etc. The more blogs that participate, the more content spreads, the more each blog will grow audience and flourish – just like apple trees in the orchard. Here are my slides: