Yesterday marked four years of blogging for me. While I can go on about how things have changed for me personally and professionally, I'd rather talk about the technology market… it's much more interesting.
We were still recoving from the dotcom bust, now we're heading into rough times.
The concept of "web 2.0" was new and not horribly hammered into everyone's heads.
Social Networks were just coming online… Twitter didn't exist.
Although PHP had been around for about 9 years, it was just beginning to creap into the public spotlight. The first ZendCon wouldn't happen for another year.
Internet Explorer 6 was something that plagued… doh.
Firefox had just bought their ad in the New York Times.
We began to figure out the large parts of how the Page Rank algorithm worked and determined that inbound links were key.
The 2004 Presidential Election pushed blogging into the spotlight. Through candidates like Howard Dean and investigative journalism related to Rathergate, we saw the power of blogging and how important it was to have an online presence and monitor it.
More than anything else, online interactions as a whole were changing…
The Cluetrain Manifesto is approaching its 10th birthday and is just as relevant today as it was then. Having more traffic to your site is great. Having an active presence where your customers are is great. Having more people know your brand is great, All of those are great things and many people enjoy and benefit from having better connections with the entitie… but it leads back to the classic quote:
"Half my advertising works, I just don't know which half."
It still doesn't answer the question… and I think that's what we're missing now. We need better/more ways of tracking those online interactions and seeing which ones convert to sales. Which ones create new markets and opportunities. Which ones become new voices and talk about your products. Which ones offer constructive criticism. Which ones try to tear you down.
While the current market slump will take down some innocent bystanding companies, overall it will be a good thing as more companies work to answer these questions. It's going to make the next generation stronger and more creative.. just like it did last time.