Today I read an interesting article at CNN, talking about blogging going mainstream. More of these kinds of articles seem to be appearing lately, following Google's recent purchase of Blogger.com (Blogger is a company which is popular for its free and paid blog services).
I find it intriguing that a phenomenon like blogging can be happening below the radar for quite some time, until a singular event (like Google buying Blogger) brings it to the attention of the media and general public. This process seems similar to the way musical acts are "discovered" even though they've been doing local or national tours for years and years.
I had a friend ask me what I thought the real deal with blogs was. He wanted to know if I thought were they just a fad like pet rocks, or if I felt there was something of substance to them. My answer was both.
Blogs do seem to have a momentary faddish aspect to them. In fact, many are starting blogs with great enthusiasm that will probably stop posting once they discover nobody is reading their work. As an example, check out this Wired article about weblogs abandoned by their owners.
On the other hand, there are many useful blogs that provide journalistic-level coverage on current events, some that specialize in research on very specific topics, and still others updated by developers, who share details of their development process with users and colleagues.
I think just as email, web browsing and chatting have all grown up and settled into a groove, blogging will settle into its own niche too. Once the fad has run its course, blogs will find their place in the web and become another staple for those who use and enjoy them.
I think the biggest problem facing a world of blogs is the sheer number and variety of them. There are just so many resources out there, no one reader will be able to see them all. Over time I think the better, more dedicated and more focused bloggers will prosper while bloggers who lose interest in blogging will falter. This is the normal way of things -- the best naturally rise to the top.