In my new role here at Yahoo, I am shifting gears and tone down my focus on corporate blogs and think more about blogging (and other Social Media tools) for the masses. My target audience has shifted from the VP of Marketing or Chief Knowledge Officer to the mother of three in suburban New Jersey. Yahoo makes tools for these folks and I want to consider what tools and information would make their lives richer and fulfilling. I’ll tag posts about these topics with a new category, “Social Media.”
I will continue to post from time to time on corporate blogs because that is an ongoing interest and these posts will continue to be tagged with the “Corporate Blogs” category. I still need to post my thoughts about the recent BlogOn conference in NYC, a recent paper and discussion around “Innovation Creators” being posted by Rod Boothby of Ernst & Young over at innovationcreators.com and IBM’s Willy Chiu & Harriet Pearson discussion on blogging on business.
Evan Williams of Odeo recently posted about casual content creators as it relates specifically to podcasting but his observations ring true for any of the self-publishing tools out there today.
While blogging can be about playing on a world stage to influence, gain audience, and, potentially, monetize (the same goals as most other media), there are millions of people who are happily publishing daily without those motivations. For them, it’s more about expression, self-reflection, and communication.
I call these people “casual content creators.” It’s not just that they’re amateur or part of the great, unwashed, Long Tail. It’s that they’re playing a different game.
Both approaches to publishing are legitimate—and there is certainly a blurry area in between—but the second one is underrated, in my opinion. As we learned at Blogger, it’s what the vast majority of people want to do. And if you set people up with the expectation that, by publishing to the web, they are becoming a “personal publisher” and should strive to be part of the A List (an intimidating concept to most people), you’ll get a very different result than if you give them a casual way to express themselves and share information.
Ev echos Mena Trott’s seminal Blogs, Bandwidth, and Banjos post from over a year ago. To paraphrase, the true revolution will happen when no one thinks of blogging as a defined activity anymore but just one of many tools (which will include podcasting, moblogging, and sharing calendars) used to communicate or, perhaps more appropriately, stay connected.