Secret to the popularity of blogging

While reading this post in The Blog Herald (don’t you just love the title?), I had an enlightenment.

Blogging is so popular and fast spreading because its based on text. And text is natural for human beings. We’ve learned how to produce text thousands of years ago. We’ve been cultivating the skill since than. Images and sounds are cool too, but they don’t have a few characteristics, which make text so popular.

  • Text is easy to reproduce. If I read something smart, or thought of something myself, I can reproduce it many times. I can write it down on a sticky note. I can type it on my laptop. I can scratch it on the wall of the public restroom (it’s not something that I practice myself, but the possibility is there). Images are way harder. The more complex the image, the better skills I must possess to reproduce it. Sounds are even harder. I’ve heard a million songs, but I can’t sing one of them.
  • Text is easy to analyze. This is important for a whole range of applications – translations from one language to another, aggregation and reports, understanding meanings, etc. There is a certain degree of symbolism and structure in images (shades, proportions) and sounds (rhythms, loops), but neither of these are based on symbolism and structure.

(I had a couple of more in mind, but lost them while writing this post.)

So, blogging is just a tool for people to do something they’ve been doing for years. Blogging makes it easier to produce text, to analyze text, to link text together, to quote text, and to search text.

For the same reason, that’s why podcasting and videoblogging are developing slower. They are all about other formats. Rich and much needed formats, but not text.