Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Conversations about the SG Blogosphere with a non-blogger

#1 - Word-of-Mouth Effect in the SG Blogosphere
This afternoon, I opined to a friend (who's not a blogger) that the Word-of-Mouth effect in the Singapore Blogosphere doesn't seem to be very prevalent -- at least to me. My sense was that SG bloggers tend to just visit a blog, or read the RSS feed, and that's it. They may leave a comment, but they don't really blog about it even if they like what they read (I'm referring to blogging about what they've read, rather than starting new blog topics).

That being said, here's one recent example of the word-of-mouth effect, where Preetam plugs the library's Heartlands Bookclub. Since the launch of High Browse Online, I've tracked about 12 citations by bloggers in the SG Blogosphere (16, if I include overseas bloggers and citations at Tomorrow.sg).

I guess it depends on what one expects by "word-of-mouth", i.e. how many blog posts does it take to be considered to be sufficiently talked about? Maybe your observations are different (you can prove me wrong by blogging about it, heh).

#2 - To blog or not to blog?
Oh, and the friend I had lunch with -- he's not a blogger... yet.

He sees the value of blogs as a communication and social tool. I sensed his interest in writing (which he confirmed). He's an articulate chap, a thinker and voracious reader (he says he borrows and buys more books than he can finish). He could probably make time to blog (disciplined guy). All things considered, his concern was whether he'd end up just writing frivolous stuff.

I suggested he blog about being a new father. He might end up getting connected to other fathers who blog. He might even be leaving a web-documentary for his son. Nothing frivolous about that.

"The short-term impact of any new technology tends to be overestimated, while its long-term impact is underestimated" ~ Arthur C. Clarke

#3 - Impact of blogs on the Next Generation
One thing that's unclear though, is how the blog archives would affect those who are being blogged about.

Let's say my friend does blog about his son well into this son's school going years. One day, his son comes home and complains that his friends read the father's blog and made fun of him by citing embarassing moments mentioned in the blog. The blog might be deleted but copies might exist in cache or archives.

It could happen. Or not.

Perhaps the generation that grew up with blogs might accept it as a way of life and have different notions of personal privacy. Or not.

I guess bloggers need to have what I'd call "Future-Situational Awareness". I came across the term "Situational Awareness" most often in the context of law enforcement or the military to mean (in a simple sense) "knowing what's going on around you". In the blog context, Future-Situational Awareness just means knowing what might happen in the future if we blog about it.

Rule of thunb: "If I blog about this, how would the person being blogged about feel today, tomorrow, or 10 years later?"

Anyway, I don't want to scare this friend of mine, if he's reading this. I trust he'll weigh the pros and cons and decide what he wants to do. If I were in his shoes, I'd blog about his experience as a father.

I know that as a son, if I'd read what my father wrote when he was bringing me and my siblings up, I'd have a better appreciation of what he and my mother had gone through. Even reading about seemingly frivolous stuff would give me a sense of what life was like when I was too young to know what was going on.

Blogs are just tools. What's more important is how we conduct ourselves through life. The same principle applies no matter if we blog or not.

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