From Weblog to Moblog: How the smartphone is changing the blogging game
You're waiting for your flight at the Hong Kong airport. Or on the campaign trail in Iowa. Or maybe you're on a much needed vacation in Hawaii. These
scenarios used to be a challenge for bloggers and other so-called "digital communicators" to break through the tech barrier and get their thoughts
distributed quickly and publicly through their blogs.
But mobile devices have helped spawn the advent of the moblog.
The moblog (literally translated as "mobile blogging") can allow an individual to blog anywhere and at any time. And it is changing the landscape of
who gets heard in an increasingly cluttered digital communications network. According to a recent profile in BusinessWeek, moblogging is changing the
blogosphere from a world in which people sit behind desks and rant to a real-time, real-world breaking news space where average citizens are providing
updates and broadcasts on everything from the news on their industry to national political campaigns.
Predicting a new wave
While moblogging has
been around since the 1990s, when it started percolating among the young tech set in Japan, it only recently has been seen as a
viable technique given the growing use of mobile devices. According to Ken Hyers, a senior analyst for the market research firm In-Stat/MDR, there are
more than half a million bloggers who use their phones and mobile devices like BlackBerry® smartphones to update their blogs remotely. And it's having
Mitch Joel, a partner at the marketing and communications group Twist Image, uses moblogging during travel when he is unable to connect to his laptop.
"I'll use my laptop to send out communications and post stuff," says Joel. "But I use my BlackBerry® 8800 smartphone to draft everything while I'm away
from my desk."
Moblogging is clearly becoming a powerful reality, and is helping separate new arrivals from the competition. Moblogging has helped sites like
TMZ.com, a celebrity gossip site, surpass its more traditional rivals like Entertainment Tonight by utilizing mobile technologies
to give readers faster updates and breaking stories.
Paddy Holahan of NewBay Software predicts that BlackBerry smartphones and the next wave of mobile technologies will indeed change the blogosphere.
"In two year's time, every phone user will have a website and be using blogs to convey their version of the world," says Holahan. In fact, NewBay has
launched a variety of moblogging tools, including FoneBlog, BlogPlanet, and KABLOG. "This is a trend that is not going to go away, and you have to be
ready to embrace it or get left behind," Holahan says.
Moblogging: The basics
It may seem intuitive, but there are some basic steps to begin moblogging:
- Use one of the existing moblogging software programs or websites (including Google's Blogger™,
Flickr™ and Typepad®).
- Create a unique name for the blog and choose a template that best represents how you want your moblog to look.
- You will be given a website address and access to a simple online text editor. For moblogging most programs allow you to submit your blog entries as
an e-mail or SMS message that gets posted automatically.
Whether you're an avid blogger who has found a need to blog on the go, or a novice photographer wanting to showcase a picture worth a thousand words,
moblogging with your smartphone is a great way to connect to the world. Wherever you are.
John Carr, who served as the president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association in Washington until 2006, is one of many high-profile
executives who uses blogging to communicate routinely and on the record during crises. While serving as head of NATCA, Carr used his blog, The Main Bang,
to directly post and update statements from his hotel in Hawaii when NATCA and the Federal Aviation Administration had a dramatic fallout over contract
"The ability to update my blog on the road and on the fly was critical to my membership," Carr noted. "I once even blogged with my members
using our private bulletin board service while waiting to testify before Congress." Carr says his ability to use his BlackBerry smartphone to get rebuttal
information before his testimony began was crucial to his preparations.
Blog and social media expert Debbie Weil, author of The Corporate Blogging Book,
says that moblogging has reinvented how we communicate with our network - both professional and personal. "It's the advent of a truly social media, where
the guy down the street is breaking a story because he's there and CNN isn't," says Weil. "The ability to use these devices that are available to everyone
is an incredibly powerful shift in how we get, send and receive information."
While the use of moblogs is still in its infancy, there is no denying that there is a line being drawn between those who understand the value of such social
media and those who remain unconvinced that moblogs are here to stay. But as with any new tool (remember the naysayers who said they didn't see a future for the
Internet?), the moblog is quickly marching towards a boom.
Do you moblog? Share your thoughts with us.