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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Blogging to Peak in 2007?

I received a great set of questions via email over the weekend roughly coming out of a two articles: Gartner: Blogging to peak in 2007 , By Some Measures, Blogging May Be Peaking.

The questions:
Do you feel that Gartner's prediction will apply to educators in general? By end of 2007, will those educators who would ever dabble in blogging have dabbled? And if so, where will that leave blogging as a tool for education? Will it only be used by educators that have kept up blogging. Or alternatively, do you think that educators will buck the trend that Gartner predicts?
So, let me first say that when you say educators, I generally am thinking of academia and I really don't know that space as well as folks like Stephen Downes and David Warlick. Also, there's been some commentary on this already in the edublog space: Blogs are a waste of time - no-one blogging by 2010? (But I happen to disagree with a lot of what they are saying.)

That said, I'll still put out my opinions (and that's all they are).

I think that Gartner's statement is a bit too soon - the number of pure play blogs will continue to grow over the next few years and daily posts will as well. And, more importantly, there will be incredible growth in tools that are not purely blogs. So, if you change the question to, will writing and sharing online going to increase? Dramatically! The form of it may or may not be a blog.

Would you call posting notes about assignments, pointers to resources by an elementary teacher to be blogging? I'm not sure if that counts as blogging, but that's going to continue to increase - right now only about half of the elementary teachers for my kids do this to any great extent. It is EXTREMELY useful to be able to communicate to parents though this kind of mechanism.

Further, teachers will be able to share resources and lesson plans - which is something my mother (a second grade teacher for 30+ years) would have done. And I would certainly have put all of my class notes in a wiki. It all makes way too much sense. I don't think that Gartner counts this as blogging though.

Let's add to this mix the ability to share slides, videos, podcasts. Gee, I wonder if that might have some pick-up?

And, of course, there's stuff like MySpace which again may not technically count as blogging even though it's personal journaling and commenting. Social networking hasn't really got to the professional, over-25 crowd. If there was a MySpace for teachers who could exchange issues and ideas, do you think they'd use it to any great degree. In the professional world, there are lots of attempts at this and eventually we'll see slow pick-up.

The comment that "everyone who is going to dabble has already dabbled" ... suggests that you've reached full adoption. I personally don't believe this is even close to true. There are too many different networks out there that haven't yet adopted. Even in eLearning, we are in the infancy of adoption.

And, there's a built-in assumption that we are talking about blogs that are somehow "expert blogs" as opposed to personal blogs. While experts have generally been the first adopters, I believe that you are going to see more adoption by folks who want to talk about the issues they face, what they are doing, etc. and who don't consider themselves experts. They are normal professionals.

I think that we are far, far short of getting mainstream adoption of Web 2.0 social computing. So while the form of blogging may change, we are going to see greater and greater adoption!

1 comment:

Mark Burton said...

There are something like 57 million blogs currently cramming the blogshere. Some are great and some are either abandoned or probably should be. I agree with you that Gartner may be a little premature in believing that blogs will level off next year, however i do think that the pace of growth will slow.

However, I also feel that the influence of the blogs that remain will grow enormously in the next few years. One of the best example I can think of was last week, when Bill gates turned to a group of blogger to talk about the future of the web.

Blogging has already had an enormous influence of traditional media and commerce and I think that 2007 will see other areas like education becoming more involved in blogging as a tool to help learning.