Something astonishing happened in the blogosphere last week, and I'm just now getting around to writing about it. While on a family vacation in Utah (snowboarding!), I signed up my mother with a Blogger account. My mom... is a blogger.
Ladies and Gentlemen, to quote a guy I chatted with last night at a party, "I think this blogging thing is going to be big."
Now, for my standard reader (yes you, you TechCrunch reading, del.icio.us posting, master coding, Web 2.0 fan/wannabe) you might chuckle a little at this quote. Your first reaction is either "Who doesn't know it's going to be big?" or more likely, "Isn't it already? What's next?"
Folks, we've just scratched the surface. Little by little, but faster and faster, we're seeing Real Users becoming more and more a part of The Engine of this Web 2.0 train, rather than it's ad impressing, micro-content providing, passengers.
So here we are. My mother, who I love very dearly, still keeps a notebook next to her desk where she's written down step by step instructions to do what many computer users would consider the most basic tasks: attaching a file to an email; saving a file under a new name; creating a mailing list; signing on to Blogger; writing a blog post. In fact, one of my biggest influences in working on software and writing about issues that focus on Real Users has been my long time role of mediator in the constant struggle my mother has with her computer. Admittedly, I was a little sad to see her old clam-shell iBook leave her desk last month, making way for the shiny new MacBook my dad and I have been trying to get her to switch to for years (she was still running OS 9!). We had spent many an exasperated moment together, me and that iBook.
Anyway, the remarkable thing happened when my mother came to me as we were getting supper ready and said, "I think I need a blog." Evidently, a good family friend had suggested this to her. Why would he do that?
I knew this answer. As it turns out, the one thing my mom is very good at with her computer is sending out short emails at rapid fire. Sometimes I'll wake to a half-dozen emails from her, time-stamped shortly after her 5:30am wake-up. While some of the emails are personal family business (your sister wants such and such for her birthday, remember to call so and so about the XYZ issue), many of the emails actually come over email lists we happen to be on together. On these lists she sends out more general family news, fun information she's collected about what's going on in Cincinnati, neat stories, and charming insight. If I were to count, I bet she actually sends out more of these kinds of emails than organizational emails, which is one of the main purposes of the lists we're on.
Anyway, our family friend -- not a Digg hawking, MySpace envying person like we all are -- knew about blogs and what they do, and put two and two together (my moms communication style and what he knew blogs were used for) and casually suggested my mother was ready for a blog.
Indeed she was. My mom has officially started posting, and boy is it delightful. Most of you don't know her, but just reading the few posts she has up at "Notes from Debbie" you can see that blogging really is for her. Is she going to be the next big site? Who knows... but likely not. Does she want to be a big site? Nope. She just wants RSP (really simple publication) and lighter email inboxes for her friends.
And she's not alone. The mom blogging sector is teeming with great blogs telling fantastic stories of motherhood and womanhood across the Country and around the world. BlogHer, a site publishing the posts of a collective of women writers, recently formed their own advertising network, putting premium advertising on some of the hundreds of blogs which form their BlogHer network.
So yes, "I think this blogging things is going to be big." With mother just signing up and doing so on the advice of a non-technolgist friend, I'd say the party's just begun. BlogHer gets it, and only a few other do.