So it’s 20 years in the future, and these five old bloggers walk into a bar on 6th Street to reminisce about the glory days.
Blogger 1: “I remember sitting at this very table, arguing about the nature of the web. Then it hit me: categories are how people understand information! If I could own a category, I would draw the traffic and the revenue. Search naturally funnels eyeballs toward the top few sites. AdSense did the rest. And that’s how I made my fortune.”
Blogger 2: “Hey, I remember your site! I used to read it every day before I took on President Armstrong’s re-election campaign in 2016. I think you’re dead wrong about category, though…it’s all about content. You had great writing. I learned something every day from it. So yeah, category got you there, but content is what kept us. And because the content was good, we trusted your opinion. Great writing. Great insights. Useful links. And really funny. It worked for El Dooce in our campaign too…the people felt they could trust someone who so embraced pooping and by extension: diversity and tolerance. I mean, we all poop, right? And that’s how we built our powerbase…quality content. People loved it, and their hearts followed.”
Blogger 3: “Heh, I remember that first debate between Armstrong and those other assholes. They thought they could attack her character with citations from her own blog. The flicker of panic across their faces, when they realized that the old ways of character assassination don’t work when half the audience grew up reading her blog and had already formed their own opinions about her character…man, that was priceless. They just looked like cardboard cutouts of real people by comparison. Information transparency break down fear, uncertainty and doubt! That’s when I knew that it wasn’t category or content that ruled the world…it’s context. The old regimes were masters at manipulation through controlling the context of our information experience. In the old world, when nothing was really verifiable except through the inbred reporting of The Old Media, everything seemed equally credible or ludicrous. I made my fortune by creating a personal context management tool, leveraging the wisdom of informed crowds to find the relevant patterns in so-called reported fact. The Old Media…they were great at building a news reporting organizations, and in the scramble to chase advertising revenues through market size, as opposed to the value in factually clarifying the state of the world. Idiots.”
Blogger 4: “You said it, girl! When I found your site, I discovered things about myself that I didn’t know were important. You helped me find my community too…that’s what gave me power and confidence! It was a lot like my first SXSW, the first year they held it on the moon. I was hanging out at the WordPress party, floating upside down over this giant picture window, looking down upon the Earth. The first thing I thought was that the Earth looks weird without a cartoon animal humping it. The second thing was that it was home, and that I wished other people could be up here too and get the feeling that we are all from the same place. At the same time, I was at this great party with a community of people who believed in the coolness of what we were doing…democratizing the creation of information, and using those pathways to find each other in real life in a way that was empowering and non-sucky. Writing that e-voting plugin for WordPress just sort of fell out of that, and who knew that Diebold would be out-of-business three years later because of it? My life is better because of the community we founded, and the positive energy that came from that.”
Blogger 5: “Wow, it’s great to meet all of you. I’ve read all your blogs for years, and for me it wasn’t really context, content, category, or community. Well, they were all important, but what made the difference was continuity. I read you guys every day. I got to know you. It grounded me in the torrent of information spewing from the web, because I felt I knew you were you stood, and that helped me see my own life in perspective. You know how ‘all politics is local’? Well, that applies to everything…business is local, best friends are local, experiences are local. We’re more fully engaged when all our senses are used and when we have common experiences. I recognized that the Internet was a new form of shared locality, just like everyone else, but I made my fortune by recognizing that maintaining any form of continuity is magic. It’s the foundation of relationship, and real relationships are what makes things doable.”
Bartender: “I thought this entry was going to be some kind of a funny joke.”
Me: “Sorry. I thought so too.”