Following on from F8 in September, Zuckerberg’s empowered speech may have left you wondering exactly what Zuckerberg meant when he claimed that he would “expand the notion of a more social web?”

The web has for some time been hailed as a global force empowering democracy and freedom of speech, with the social media being placed at the forefront of this battle. Yet the current rivalry between Facebook and Google could almost be interpreted as an archaic war for cyber control of web users. Indeed at a glance, Facebook’s challenge to Google seems like a challenge to the dominance of the worldwide web at large (after all, Google is the site that offers the most comprehensive analysis of the relationship between websites).

The decision to integrate apps into Facebook means that users may never have to venture outside the site. Zuckerberg himself recently stated that ‘Facebook is a collaborative tool’. Facebook currently has over 800 million active users who visit the site more than once a day, although this figure still isn’t as high as the 1.5 billion hits Google receives daily. Yet the ease with which Facebook membership is rising posits a potential sea change in the way in which we use the internet. With the integration of Spotify, Guardian, and even Twitter onto Facebook you may be wondering why you would ever need to open your internet explorer browser again.

Google’s attempts to encroach on Facebook’s territory in the last few years have not exactly epitomized success. Google+ is the fourth in a series of attempts by Google to enter the social networking sphere (remember Google Friend Connect, Google Buzz and Google Wave?) and membership on the site is believed to be little above 40 million members worldwide. In fact, Google has refused to comment on how many members are on the site inciting Forbes to publish an article entitled Eulogy for Google+.

However it remains to be seen whether the rise of Facebook will lead to the demise of the web at large. Facebook has, recently been in trouble for data sharing and the site is increasingly being viewed as ‘creepy’ by members.  Just like Google, Facebook stores a myriad of user’s personal information including private messages, the use of the like button and apps- but more interestingly also stores information about user’s friends, family and educational background. The site even detects subtle changes to a member’s lifestyle, enabling advertisers to target mothers-to-be for instance with baby products. This all sounds eerily similar to the decision by Google to remember your search information. So internet users might see the expansion of a more social web, but will this mean anything more than a transition of power between key magnates online?

The great challenge with blogging is that a blogger has to keep coming up with new ideas, thoughts, insights and ways of being interesting.  Unlike a traditional journalism few blogs are driven by news or constant announcements.  Those blogs that do so very quickly become online news platforms, e-zines or e-reporting.

This is why blogs are important as they become places where ideas, community sharing and thinking lives.   Without the narcotic element of live news, a blog has to create and curate insights within the community that it has shaped. 

This is the essence of the new hierarchy of influence because the blogger has to earn influence and continually re-earn that influence without the power of the mast head of heritage of a publishing house.

This dynamic drives the much commented upon democratic dynamic of the new media platforms. It sets up a cattle auction of ideas in which the communities within the Internet vote up and down your influence.   Importantly this democracy does not mean equality there is a fluid hierarchy of influence within the blogging community; not all blogs are created equal.

I believe that ideas are the currency within this voting system. It is the quality, nuance and originality of ideas and thoughts that drives a blog’s influence (what I mean by an idea is a meme or a new iterance. This does not have to be profound it can be trivial, humorous or a reflection on a previous meme). However, over time the depth and frequency of these new ideas does drive influence. You have to go back and if it is not for news it helps to have ideas as a currency. The place where these idea starters thrive most of all is the blogosphere.

Blogs and ideas in this way drive the new forms of engagement; without a flow of ideas it is very hard to engage with a community. This creates some rules for blogging engagement: it helps to have a consistent territory on which to comment; the more others interact and engage with your ideas the better the engagement; and of course the more transparent your references to other ideas the greater your authority becomes.

Every blogger knows that coming up with new thoughts and ideas is something of a curse as well as a thrill.

@Naked_Pheasant

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