missionary position

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So, how many US-based bloggers found themselves evangelizing this medium at the dinner table last night? And of those, how many realized that the people listening to them just weren't getting it...yet?

Yeah, I thought so.

Last month, I posted about how blogs were making me feel the way the web had when I first saw O'Reilly's Global Network Navigator site back at Internet World in December of '93. (Sure wish I could find the old web sites for the first GNN and the IW'93 conference...but they're long gone, it seems. Even the GNN capture is from several years after its launch, only days before it was acquired by AOL.)

I spent a lot of time evangelizing in those days, trying to find a way to explain the power and potential I saw in the web to people who saw it as a second-class, poorly-controlled, inefficient publishing mechanism. Back then, quality control was a huge problem on the web, the visuals were painful, and the tools were challenging (remember trying to install winsock, or get MacPPP working?). But the potential was there, and it didn't take very long before the rest of the world saw it. At the end of dinner last night, I recognized my feelings of enthusiasm and frustration as exactly what I'd felt ten years ago when having conversations with friends and family about the internet.

I do wonder how much effect the evangelizing of the early adopters had to do with the mainstreaming of the 'net. Would it have happened even if we hadn't spoken at conferences, written books, and told everyone we knew how cool it all was? In retrospect, did it do anything except provide "I told you so" rights in the end? I can't help but think it mattered, though. That we planted seeds, and that eventually we contributed to the critical mass, to the reaching of a tipping point (that book is sitting next to me right now, begging to be read!).

So I held forth on blogs at dinner last night. Apparently I was convincing, since my stepfather created his own blog after I left! It's a pretty topic-specific blog (on learning Portuguese), but it's a start. Meanwhile, my mother is reading poetry blogs and occasionally surfing my blogroll. The one who I think would make a great blogger is my sister, who used to write for an ezine called Booklover's Review.

2 Comments

There are lots of Portuguese-language blogs out there. It'd be cool to see your stepfather become friends with a couple Brazilians before he goes there.

And I think it really wouldn't happen were it not for the presence of evangelists, whose enthusiastic investment has the effect of gradually lowering the barriers to entry for the others. Without early adopters, the bumps would take forever to be identified and smoothed out.

Too funny. And not just at the table, but scurrying into the other room after dinner to demonstrate.

 

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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on November 29, 2002 4:41 PM.

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