To blog or not to blog?

Blogging of the Global Village Brain – Harnessing Collective Intelligence

Since the coining of the word ‘web 2.0’, internet users have used it as a buzzword with no real understanding of its implications and effects on human intelligence. There has been more than 9.5billion citations on Google, yet not many have grasped the extend of the power of web 2.0 and determine its boundaries. One such power which has shown no boundaries or limits is harnessing collective intelligence through web applications. Harnessing Collective Intelligence is simply the shared group intelligence which is added and updated in a large online community. Hence, Harnessing Collective Intelligence have allowed the web to develop innovative web based services.

There are various web based services and applications which operates under the dimensions of Web 2.0 and stimulates the very basis of Web 2.0;  however, Blogs are one of the most important applications that gave rise to the web 2.0 revolution. A blog could be a simple webpage which include personal diary entries, opinions, information, links, or any creative media. Blogging is mainly constructed around the architecture of participation and the sense of belonging to a community.

This blogging community or so well known as the blogosphere, has an immense impact on the knowledge shared and processed every day. The intelligence shared on the blogosphere are based on different countries, languages, cultures, races and religions.

The composition of the blogosphere is made of Hobbyists, Professional, Corporate and Entrepreneurs. According to technorati blog indexing, there are 133 million current blogs since 2002, and in average there are 625 blog posts produced every minute. This illustrates that every minute there’s a blogger who shares information with million other internet users who would receive as explicit knowledge; thus harnessing collective intelligence.

So why is blogging so popular?

  • Easy to start, setup and maintain
  • Effective communication with other users
  • Freedom of speech and write
  • Publish any opinion, thought, idea, or a theory
  • Effective marketing and advertising

and how does it help in harnessing collective intelligence?

  • Tagging 
    • A tag is a descriptive keyword added to a blog post in which other users apply to classify information to derive knowledge.
  • Multimedia Sharing 
    • With the access to large storage spaces on blogging platforms, users have grown to facilitate multimedia content. More innovative services such as Youtube and flickr has grown exponentially as a result of sharing collective creative media.
  • RSS and Syndication 
    • Really Simple Syndication is a format of web feeds allowing the user to receive updates on the content of RSS enabled websites or blogs. Syndication is the process of collecting information and presenting on a brief feed.

Harnessing collective intelligence have been made quite easy with the above tools and services as the users are updated with data more often and are allowed to share more data effectively. This trend has been the center of the Blogging revolution and have connected its users in a vast global scale. This connection was creatively explained by Tim O’Reily, including the effect of harnessing collective intelligence.

If an essential part of Web 2.0 is harnessing collective intelligence, turning the web into a kind of global brain, the blogosphere is the equivalent of constant mental chatter in the forebrain, the voice we hear in all of our heads. It may not reflect the deep structure of the brain, which is often unconscious, but is instead the equivalent of conscious thought. And as a reflection of conscious thought and attention, the blogosphere has begun to have a powerful effect.” Tim O’Reily, 2005

However, as with every new technology, there are legal and ethical issues that need to addressed on the rise of Blogging.

    • Privacy and personal identity have been a main concern within the online community and the blogosphere. As every blog post is shared with anyone and everyone, it is imperative how a blogger protect their online identity and personal details
    • As the disclosure policy was introduced in December 2009, bloggers are now made to disclose any relationships with products and services promoted on the blogs.
    • Copyright Infringement is also a major issue within the community as it is perceived ‘since it’s on the internet, it can be copied’. Every website has its own copyright policies which should be consulted before copying their content; complying to do so may result in lawsuits.
    • Another issue that could result in lawsuits is Defamation. It is quite common for bloggers to publish anything without any evidence or proof to back it up. Defamation is a severe misconduct as one should not post information for the sake of high traffic and pingbacks.

Despite ethical and legal issues concerned with Blogging, it continues to be a fundamental application in Web 2.0. As the traditional printing media declined, Blogging improved on its tools to publish text, audio, video and the ability to subscribe to content via RSS. On the other hand technological enhancements such as tablets and smartphones have allowed bloggers to seamlessly access and edit content. The ability of blogs to adapt and its drive for substantial content will see more and more corporate blogs to utilise marketing campaigns and personal bloggers to blog more often. Blogs are becoming a cultural standard, in which ‘blogging is accepted as an integral part of the media landscape‘. 


17 comments on “To blog or not to blog?

  1. Great post Hasitha! Excellent content structure and use of lists and blockquotes.

    Do you have any statistics on the successful harnessing of collective intelligence through blogs?

    • Thanks Nicholas.
      I couldn’t find substantial statistics and supporting data that would show the depth of harnessing collective intelligence. May be it is due to the complexities of the topic and the breadth of data available through blogs.

  2. To blog or not to blog?
    to blog I say!

  3. Good stuff.

    How do you see the web developing further in the future? What sort of aspects do you think web 3.0 will have?

    • Thanks Lee. I think the current web 2.0 was focused on real identities and real relationships. Web 3.0 would most probably be how these identities and relationships be manipulated into harnessing substantial intelligence for lucrative applications.

  4. I really concern that the copyright problem should be considered seriously.Since there is no way to limit bloggers’ behaviour. When people blogging, how can we prevent and persuade that?

  5. The big question for me is where does the legal responsibility land? If people are blogging, or writing information into a wiki entry. Is it the person who wrote the information liable, is the creator of the platform who has enabled the information sharing liable or is it the reader who needs to be aware that even though it may be an expert in the area that the information should be taking with due care?

    • That is quite the complex question which would have different answers in different point of views. I think some platforms are working on copyright laws now, where by the creators are free of any liabilities caused by the writers of the content. And it becomes bloggers liability of the content and the information provided on the blogs.

  6. Good to see how you have high lighted the popularity of blogging in part due to its ability to provide freedom of speech and write. Be it a young entrepreneur in the middle of Brisbane trying to start a professional career for him/her self or a young Syrian expressing their countries hardships to the world; both have the oppurtuniy to do so now.

    • Yeah, Blogging has certainly utilized the freedom of speech which gives anyone the access to write about anything. That’s probably a main reason behind the growing popularity of harnessing collective intelligence. As a wise man once said, a group or a community is smarter than on smart individual.

  7. I like that you touched on the legal and ethical issues related to blogging especially since the average user is not aware of the points you mentioned. As a general rule, if a service is free it means that you’re a product. The model that Google and Facebook use is very easy to identify but do you have any thoughts on what word press uses? Further more what legal and ethical issues the business model might compromise?

    • As far as I know, I think wordpress have a similar business model as to facebook or google, where by users are allowed to publish any content with wordpress have the rights to the content. Probably one of the major ethical issue I came across on wordpress is that, even though they allow you to delete your Blog and its content, there is no option to delete your wordpress account. It pose issues on as to why they do not release your account if wanted by the user.

  8. Very very good post in my opinion!! Good job!

    Lots of information to digest with lots of interesting references. This post could also be used as an intro/tutorial to blogging.

    The “Blog Economy” picture was very interesting I thought. Especially the stats that links bloggers and facebook…

    • Thank you Max for your kind words.

      Yeah I thought Blogging is one of those concepts that triggered the web 2.0 revolution but phased out later due to other implementations of social media. I think Blogging played a major role in developing web 2.0 with its mass storage of data and intelligence. May be it’ll have a hand in developing web 3.0 as well.

  9. The statistics about blogs are really interesting and the legal issues you talked about I didn’t know! Great insight into web 2.0!

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