Reading the morning paper, I noticed yet another ad that said something to the effect of “Company X now has a Blog!”. While it’s certainly no news that blogging has made a mainstream breakthrough these last few years, I found myself wondering: why is this exciting? Why is it worth ad-space?
Well the answer is as simple as this: Blogs work well and people know how to use them.
fundamentally, we’re all really lazy
Following that train of thought, it’s actually about usability. Blogs having been around for a while now, the inner workings of such websites have now become second-nature. When people visit a blog, they expect the following:
- Reverse chronologically posted news items (newest stuff near the top)
- Ability to comment
- A “personal” tone
What’s so usable about this? Well, since this is the formula for most blogs—certainly most good blogs—this predictable formula acts as a positive reinforcer. When we visit a new blog we know exactly how it works: we’ve surfed blogs countless times before.
This is different from a plain-jane news section of a website because those come in as many shapes and sizes as snowflakes do. That means a lot. With no predictability we have to learn these websites anew, and fundamentally, we’re all really lazy.