Web 2.0 and Blogs

There are many interpretations of the term Web 2.0, but the main idea behind it is that the Web has turned a new leaf and its main feature now is to promote web technologies that catalyze collaboration and sharing between users.

Blogs are considered to be one of the prime examples of the new generation Web 2.0 sites.
But what exactly makes blogs to be part of this new Web? Of course the readers comments. But then what about blogs with closed comments? Does it mean that they don’t belong to this new generation of sites?

Are there any other blog features that can be regarded as one of the main characteristics of Web 2.0? Personally I think group writing projects are playing a big part in putting blogs into this category of new batch of sites. Don’t you think so?

When do we get a better chance in collaborating with each other, contributing our thoughts and sharing our knowledge? That’s why I like participating in blog projects and organizing them on Inspiration Bit.
However, I’ve noticed two things about group projects that make me if not sad but definitely wishing for a better environment that would allow group writing projects blossom and encourage all bloggers to be part of the project team.

  1. It appears that some bloggers are choosy as to what group projects they decide to take part in. It’s understandable when that decision is made on the mere fact that the topic of the group writing project is drastically different from the theme and the background of their blog. But it’s a shame when that selection is based on the authority and popularity of the hosting blog. We shouldn’t be judging blogs by their RSS feed count nor by their Technorati ranking.
  2. Though I have nothing against people’s motivation to participate in group projects to get more exposure for their blogs, I believe there’s something wrong in the fact that prominent bloggers are quick on hosting group writing projects on their blogs, but don’t feel like participating in the projects run by their not so well-known fellow bloggers.

    I often find that group writing projects provide me with new topics for my blog, so that’s another beneficial motive to participate in other projects. So why is it that famous bloggers like … you-know-who… consider themselves to be above others to write an article that says “This post was written as part of…”? It’s like hosting dinner parties for poor people but never attending the parties organized by those very people.

Ok, enough ranting. This post was meant to feature the results of the recent group writing project organized by Simonne from AllTipsAndTricks. I honestly expected to see more than 9 participants in that project, so I guess that’s why I felt a bit bitter about the outcome. But as Simonne wrote herself, “Taking into account that this blog has 270 feed subscribers, we come to a participation rate of 3%, which is similar to Problogger’s group projects participation rate. But numbers don’t really matter.” Yes, number don’t matter. The important thing is that Simonne’s project promoted other blogs with honorable causes:

  1. Shelly from This Eclectic Life has all the reasons in the world to be proud of her biggest blogging achievement that brought people together with her Share A Square Project, where people from all over the world send her crocheted squares that are put together to create 140 “granny” afghans for the children at Sanguinity Cancer Camp in Texas. Shelly needs 6720 squares – 48 squares will be rimmed together to create one afghan. “How cool would it be to give a sick child an afghan made by many different hands; ALL of them hands that cared about that child?”, asks Shelly, who already collected over 4000 squares and is determined to complete the project just in time when the Camp gets new kids next July.
  2. Jacob from JobMob is another blogger with the mission – to help his unemployed readers find a job. His best blogging achievement are the grateful emails from his readers who found jobs.

Both of the bloggers above get my votes for their best blogging achievement. Another blogger who impressed me a lot is Pearl from Fresh Perspectives, who achieved a lot since she first got into blogging only eight months ago, but her biggest achievement is the connection with people all over the world.

You can read the other entries and perhaps discover new blogging gems below:

And now, this is a reminder for everyone that I’m looking for partners to host a mega group writing project dedicated to Social Media sites. Please, contact me if you want to collaborate with me and other bloggers, or if you have any suggestions as to what social networking sites do you want to learn more about?

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Comment Bits

11 Insightful Bits in response to “Musing On Group Projects”

  1. Vivien, thank you very much for participating in this project. I had no expectations regarding the number of participants, as it was the first time I organized such a group project. However, I had the expectation that a few of my readers would join, and this was fulfilled.
    I didn’t know about your project, I’m going to check it out right now. I’ll be happy to help.

  2. it was a good writing contest shame only 9 but it happens sometime, i am in your project for sure

  3. Vivien, your insights on project participation are spot on. I think everybody thinks the same thing, but nobody wants to say it.

    I’m generally on-board with participating in every project I can — even those that appear to be off-topic on the surface. Those are the ones that you can really get creative with and change the tone to match that of your blog. I missed out on Simonne’s project mostly because of timing — but also because I had just posted a couple of articles on a similar topic and I felt it would be awkward to post on the same topic that soon.

    On the point of the more popular bloggers not participating in projects, I can kind of understand why. They have a lot of loyal readers who host their own projects and they couldn’t possibly participate in all of them. Even so, it would be nice to see them participate every once in a while.

  4. Simonne, I was wondering why you didn’t chip in with your thoughts about my social media project, glad to see you’ve discovered it now. Look forward to your ideas and participation :-)

    Simon, thanks for being on board with the social media project.

    Brian, I agree it’s impossible to participate in every readers project, especially if you have thousands of loyal readers, but like you said – it wouldn’t hurt them to participate in other projects every once in awhile. It would make them to appear less distant.
    I think you’re The Blogger Who Hosts (and Participates in) The Most Group Projects, and the most creative and interesting ones. How many projects did you organize in total since you started blogging?

  5. This is all very interesting, but as there are only so many hours in a day, I find the idea of participating in a group writing project daunting … especially since I am not primarily a writer, but, rather, a book designer and layout artist.

    That said, I would be interested in reading anything about social networking sites. For one thing, are there too many? For instance, LinkedIn is the one I’ve chosen to invest any time in at all, primarily because it’s billed as the one to use for furthering one’s professional interests. But it seems that evry time I add a batch of connections, I get a whole slew of invites to other networking groups.

    Now, I realize that my interests are admittedly self-serving, but having gotten as late a start as I did in work that I love, making books, I need to promote the hell out of myself to get steady, interesting, well-paying work.

    So I’ll ask … How have any of you maximized LinkedIn to the benefit of your work life? Are there more appropriate networking sites for what I have in mind?

  6. The one we’re doing now is only the fourth project I’ve hosted, but I’ve participated in… um… I think about 15 projects from other sites such as yours, Daily Blog Tips, Problogger, and various photography blogs. I’d feel too guilty if I asked people to participate in my projects while ignoring theirs.

  7. Hey Vivien…. thank you for the kind words!

    Past few months have definitely been amazing in finding fantastic bloggers and developing relationships and I do believe majority of this has been possible because of participating in group writing projects.

    Time is a huge problem for me but I also feel participating in these projects can provide many new ideas for your own blog besides contacts… So, I am looking forward to the mega project :)

  8. The whole ‘what is Web 2.0?’ is very interesting. Perhaps one of the distinctions (and I could be way off here) is the increase in ‘blogs for money’ or the ‘monetization’ of blogs.

    About the group writing: for me it’s mostly a time thing; all of my ‘spare’ time (and more) is taken up writing my own blog and answering messages from readers. The only way I could participate, would be to drop one of the posts on my blog. Moreover, iLT is quite narrow in it’s topic, and so a non-type-related post would stand out like a sore thumb. However, I do feel that the whole ‘Group Writing’ thing has a lot of potential, and if there were a type-related one, then I might consider it. I also think that it might be even more popular if it went by a different name; not sure what, but “Group Writing Project” sounds a little literary. Just a thought.

    Oh, the reason I mentioned the blogging for money: those bloggers (not all, of course) see every post as a potential money-earner, so they’ll never be interested in collaborative projects that only inspire.

  9. Stephen, thanks for the LinkedIn suggestion. I should definitely include it in the list of social networking sites for this project. Once I attended an event with the speaker who was promoting LinkedIn for business people. One of things I remember him saying is that at first he created an account there, connected with a few people and then forgot all about it, until six months later he discovered hundreds of connections linked to his account and started getting business offers, and after that he got hooked and spends hours connecting with people and making business through LinkedIn. In my case I got a couple of job offers from there but somehow I was always getting them after I was just landing a good job myself ;-) But I hardly spend any time on LinkedIn, usually, confirming the connection requests and updating the profile. I too would like to learn more about it.

    Brian, I would feel the same. One of the mottos I try to follow in life is treating others the same way (if not better) that I would like to be treated. So if I like to see others participating in my group projects, of course I’ll participate in theirs, because I know that they would enjoy it as much as I do.

    Pearl, I look forward to your participation in this group projects. And all the best to your blog’s growth in the new year.

    Johno, I was thinking about you having such a specific topic on iLT. But I hope you didn’t completely abandon Redsil, and perhaps you could organize something there. Also you seem to be pretty good with the typography related forums, so that would be an ideal topic for you to talk about on iLT, wouldn’t it? – Asking your readers to contribute with the experience on Typography or graphic related forums. What do you think? On the other hand, I know how busy you are, so even if you just contribute to this project with your personal experience with social networking sites that would be awesome.
    hmm… I’m too not that crazy about the name Group Writing Project, but can’t seem to come up with a more appropriate one. I’ll think more about it and if you get any ideas, please share ;-)

  10. Vivien, thanks so much for the vote. I’m glad to see that you also won one of the prizes in Simonne’s contest, congrats :)

  11. You’re welcome and thanks, Jacob, and congratulations to you too – I knew that you will win ;-)

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Hi, I'm Vivien. Thanks for visiting my Inspiration Bit. I often find myself scouring the internet looking for either answers to many questions I have or websites that inspire me, sites that I can learn from. On what topics you might ask — any topics that interest me, anything from web design to typography and art, from blogging to entrepreneurship, from programming to open source.
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When I'm not blogging, I design web sites, teach, play with my daughter and try to balance family, work, friends and a somewhat active social life on