Fifth anniversary of Trends in the Living Networks blog!


Today it’s five years since my first post on this blog (see the posts for October 2002). Originally it was simply the Living Networks blog, launched to accompany the release of my book Living Networks, and was part of the book website. A book is static, and particularly on a topic such as living networks, it makes sense to make the topic alive and keep the conversation going. As far as I’m aware Living Networks was the first business book – and one of the first books – to have a companion blog. Since then I have relaunched the blog as Trends in the Living Networks as an ongoing conversation.

The opening words of Living Networks, launched in November 2002, were:

Macromedia, the company best-known for selling Flash software, is blogging. Weblogs—usually fondly abbreviated by their devotees to “blogs”—are essentially online publications of people’s stream of consciousness, available to anyone who cares to drop in to their websites. Opinions and personal perspectives are offered freely and informally, almost always in the context of breaking developments and others’ views. This means that blogs are liberally filled with links to whatever is most interesting in the ever-shifting landscape of information on the Internet.

Usually, when Macromedia releases new versions of its software, it provides detailed documentation to its community of software developers, and if it has announcements, posts the news on every related Internet forum it can find. When in May 2002 it brought out updates to four of its main packages, it asked five of its most switched-on staff to each create their own weblogs to discuss the intricacies of the new releases. In addition to offering their own insights and personal perspectives on the software, they provide links to all the other interesting online discussion happening worldwide, and independent developers link to their sites when they post something worthwhile. The rich network of links between these ongoing, informal discussions means that what is most interesting to the community is swiftly known to all, and less valuable information leaves barely a ripple in the flow.

I went on to describe the many facets of how the networks are coming to life, and throughout the book, the implications for business. It was clear to me that blogs were one of the central mechanisms for how the living networks would emerge. This was something I couldn’t just observe, but had to participate in.

A few years ago my blogging activity fell to very low levels, with the pressures of speaking, consulting, and other writing. Since relaunching the blog a couple of years ago I’ve been far more consistent, though still far less active than many bloggers. I’m about to start writing my next book, so it will be interesting to see how well I can maintain my blogging.

When I relaunched my blog under this domain name, I wondered how long the word “blog” would remain relevant. Absolutely the activities and structure that are blogging will continue indefinitely, but I thought the name might not last, and perhaps shouldn’t last. However blogs still seem to have plenty of life in them, and I’m sure that I’ll be blogging in some form or other for the rest of my days.

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