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As one of the many New Year’s predictions, I see that www.SearchCIO.com is looking for 2006 to be henceforth known as the year of the blogger .

Endorsing predictions is as notoriously hazardous as making them. As we all know, looking at yesterday’s ideas of how today would turn out is, very often, a most amusing past time.

In fact, for me, one of the funniest shows on TV last year was the BBC’s spoof of 70’s science programmes ‘Look Around You’ that included a look at how casserole had beaten the competition to become the nations favourite fast food.

In this case, however, I feel that the prediction is justified. Blogging is a constituent part of how the web is developing, from the static information source of the .com boom years, into the highly interactive, more personalised medium promised by such developments as Web 2.0.

Blogging allows anyone who can transfer their ideas onto a screen the opportunity to get them published. The growth of such tools as www.blogger.com and MSN Spaces, has given individuals the ability to share their views as never before.

One of the attractions of blogging is its informality, and this has attracted traditional news providers to incorporate blogs into their offerings (this includes the BBC with Nick Robinson’s newslog amongst others).

This attracts readers who like the personal style/opinions of their favourite bloggers and commentators and, is to my mind, a development from such things as newspaper columnists’ web diary entries but just made available to a much wider potential body of readers and contributors.

Personally, I don’t feel that blogging will ever replace traditional news gathering as some are suggesting, but will become another part of the mix.

What is certain, though, is that as the only barrier to entry for many is time, the amount of blogging and people reading blogs will continue to grow, and that certain bloggers will be more successful than others in developing an audience.

Many early web sites, such as Ain’t It Cool News, were, when they started, really a form of proto blog: in the case of Ain’t It Cool, a way for Harry Knowles to publish his thoughts about the latest film releases. In the future, more journalistic talent will be recognised from their own blogs, and some people will become blogstars.

2006 will probably see more bloggers coming to prominence, and blogs themselves becoming more of a trusted medium. As for what the next big thing for 2007 will be, your guess is as good as mine.

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