Today, in the 'Business Value of IT investments' class we had been discussing disruptive technologies. I was pondering on the question of whether blogs are a disruptive technology and what a coincidence ! - came across an article with exactly the same title while browsing for something else. The article is an absolute gem.
Article available at: "Blogs as a Disruptive Technology"
The article is by a lawyer and has appeared in the January/Feb 2004 edition of Law Practise Management.
Going by what the author writes, there are very strong reasons why blogs are a disruptive technology:
a) people are not sure at first how a disruptive technology would be beneficial - same thing with the business usage of blogs - people are still experimenting.
b) it has potentially disruptive effects on existing technologies - the author argues in the paper that weblogs are going to change the way webdesigning is done - in fact goes on to say that blogs are going to make web-designing obsolete !! - now that is 'disruptive'.
c) they bring a different value proposition to the market than had been available before - blogs vs websites exactly - any tom-dick-and-harry can create a weblog and become an online journalist.
d) disruptive technologies have features other fringe customers value - businesses do not value blogs that much now but that is going to change in future as they shift over from websites to blogs.
e) products based on disruptive technologies are more convenient to use, are cheaper, simpler and smaller - woho! - anyone who has made websites before will attest to this fact - imagine putting up a professional website in 3 mins! (something blogger says a blog can be put up in)
Incidentally, some other interesting advantages of blogs that the author points out to:
a) Weblogs attract clients to businesses - websites he says frequently do a poor job at this 'Generating' function while weblogs.
b) Perform like Corvettes, while looking like Corollas :P
c) Much more cheaper than websites to make and maintain.
As an addendum to the article is an interview with the author. Found an interesting argument among the benefits. The author says that writing about a new case or ruling on his blogs helps him understand the real implications of the case. Now compare this with the concept of stratals we learnt in the creativity class. (for those who don't know, stratal is a mechanism wherein descriptive writing about a particular object improves our awareness about it and its uses and thereby increases the possible creative uses you can put it to or improve it). Now note how blogs are acting as a stratal mechanism :D - are they a new route to creativity ??
Finally, an interesting comment the author Erik J. Heels makes in the article:
"Blogs are the most important development since the web itself" :D