I've resisted the temptation so far to make a list of blog-related predictions for 2005. Everyone does lists and I'm sure what I might say wouldn't be that different from what I see many communicators and others saying.
But, catching up with scanning my RSS feeds last night, I read Media Guerrilla's 2005 Predictions by Mike Manuel.
Mike's made five interesting predictions. You can read each of them on his blog. I want to focus on one he made, which I think will be the Number One Hot Prediction for organizations:
2005 will be the Year of the Corporate Blog.
Lots of people are saying this, of course. Mike mentions examples of companies who have got into blogging in a big way in 2004 - Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, for instance - as a precursor of what will happen in 2005.
But I don't think everyone is talking about the same reasons.
What I can see happening that fits with what I mean by 2005 being the year of the corporate blog is that this communication tool will force signficant change and re-alignment in how organizations communicate and share information and will begin to embrace blogs as part of their overall relationship-development activities.
My big picture shows blogs (and, especially, related communication technologies such as RSS and the new one - podcasts) rapidly rising up the agenda tree in organizations large and small, and in particular relating to internal use: connecting groups and departments within the same organization in easier, faster and more effective ways than traditional cumbersome and inflexible tools like intranets or so-called 'knowledge portals.'
With organizations, all this is following a similar pattern in many ways to what happened when people first started seeing websites as the way to connect with diverse audiences. That was 10 years ago.
Two differences today: The technology's smarter, easier and more pervasive - you can just do it - and people's needs and desires to connect and share news and information are easily met and satisfied because the technology's smarter, easier and more pervasive. It's an irresistible force that is sweeping change in front of it.
It won't be an easy ride, though, for many companies as it's all about change, new ways of doing things and the dilution of power in traditional command-and-control structures. We will see more instances of big hurdles being crashed into along the way, with more employee/employer issues like Friendster, Delta Airlines and Electronic Arts.
Yet I believe we will see this change rapidly taking place during 2005, not the least reason because there are increasing numbers of communicators and others with real passion who will continue to strongly evangelize the benefits within their organizations.
My related prediction - the beginning of changes in the workplace leading to an integrated communication and information-sharing system or process as envisioned by Forrester Research. The first steps will happen in 2005 and blogs will be a catalyst.
Shall we have a progress report at the end of each quarter next year?