The Big Boys and Blogs
I know I had talked to Clayton and Mel about this, but this is evidence that the big boys (Microsoft, etc) are getting a clue about blogs and search positioning. It seems MSN has it's own blog, created by fictional people, where they link everything to MSN Search, which of course is a method of inreasing page rank. Times must be tough that they have to do it themselves, don't ya think? This was enlightened by this article, which I was pointed to from MSNBC (here actually).
Ok, so why is this important? Blogs are the people, the real person on the street. You might go so far as to say that these are advanced surveys in a way, although without direction and goal. To dismiss blogs is foolish because you get the real feedback here, not narrowed down by suitable questions or filtered by journalists or editors whose goal is biased. (do you know of a journalist who espouses wind power who write favorably on nuclear power?)
Blogs show us what is "hot" in real time, not distributed in bright shiny packages by some uncaring corporation whose entire goal is profit. Links written into blogs are personalized, a reflection of that person at that time, and it is this personality, this personal enthusiasm, that is the blog's power (and IMHO why so many journalists and industry leaders are now embracing them). See how some bloggers are now publishing books and blogging for a living? There is a reason for this, in that the "people" (you and me) are interested in this person-centric view of the (Internet) world, and not some cookie-cutter plastic-wrap factoid.
This is the sole reason I have decided to embrace blogging - because it does empower, because you can influence someone and shape the way the Web flows. And yes, for the obvious reason too, because it increases traffic to my work sites and maybe one of them might turn into a hot hit. A blog like this one for example, about coding, might help you or *gasp* might even help someone who happens to read it (I'm not sure there are many of those, you need to spread the URL...) Blogging doesn't have to be personal, you don't have to write about your family, you can write about your everyday experiences, the things you love, or hate, or admire, or life in general, or just the cool websites you have run across.
So has this encouraged you to blog more? I hope so, it can only help you. Not only that, but if you have a server and $10 for a domain name, you can install WordPress easily enough and off you go! It is REALLY easy. I thought it would be difficult but no sir, just three steps, set up a MySQL database and you're ready :)