Shel Holtz is much too nice. Gartner’s prediction that the growth of blogosphere will level off is just plain laughable. I try to stay away from predictions because that is the fast and easy way to make a fool of yourself, but this is so obvious.
As Jim Horton often reminds us, we need to watch politicians because they are the innovators in PR. It was the 2004 American presidential election that propelled blogging from early adapter to early mainstream. In 2007 politics will once again be the driver for the exponential growth of blogosphere.
Starting next year, Washington, DC is going to be subpoena city. Representatives John Conyers and Henry Waxman and Senator Patrick Leahy have already announced that they plan to hold investigations. You can be sure that the other chairmen will make, how shall we say, liberal use of their subpoena power.
It is safe to predict that Conyers will use his personal blog to build support for his inquiries, and that thousands will link him. An entire community of blogging will spring up around the House Judiciary committee.
Nor is the power of YouTube lost on anyone, given its role in the recent Virginia Senate election. You can be sure that all these new blogs will follow the proceedings on C-SPAN and quickly upload critical moments to YouTube, embed the link in their blogs, which will then spread virally across blogosphere.
Each of these investigations will attract its own community of bloggers, both supporters and critics. Beyond that, there will those like Adam Kovacevich who will comment on the proceedings from a PR point of view.
There will be bloggers such as your humble servant who will watch the proceedings with an eye for searching out how the concepts of political blogging can be applied to the commercial world. We have already seen some of this with the Motoral Developer Network and the Federal XML Collaborative Wiki. Clearly there will be more group sites of this nature.
One of the readers of the Eschaton blog created an RSS reader consisting of all the blogs kept by Eschaton commenters. It is just a matter of time before technology user groups establish RSS readers consisting of member blogs, or groups of complementary small businesses build RSS readers consisting of their blogs, in an effort to drive traffic and business to their corporate sites.
Aggregators such as BlogNetNews will offer small blogs a platform to build audience, thus increasing the incentive to blog. Tools such as Blogdigger offer individuals the opportunity to their own communities.
All of these factors will drive the continued exponential growth of blogosphere, YouTube, podcasting, and related social software.