Clusters and Torrents
We now understand the importance of weblog clusters in sustaining communities of interest. But one of the interesting topics at EdBlogger. raised in a panel on working with administrators and school districts, is that educators need to create overnight communities of weblogs, literal torrents.
This isn't (as I'd assumed) merely a broad initiative like Salon blogs, undertaken voluntarily. Instead, it's an administrative necessity. If some teachers have weblogs to help parents keep informed about course topics and schedules, soon all parents will expect this . Just as we now expect that any businesses will have a web site, parents will begin to wonder why there's no weblog for Johnny's fifth grade math course.
That means school IT staff have to be in the hosting business, and that they really do need server-side solutions like Blogger, Manilla and Zope, tools that can let them automate setup and default branding of dozens or hundreds of fresh weblogs. Interesting (and specialized) aggregation issues crop up, too, because Johnny needs a Fifth Grade feed while the chairman of Johnny's math department needs a Math Teachers' Feed. What the school board superintendent needs is a matter for speculation.
I suspect this is a transient issue -- in the not-too-distant future, we'll all host our weblogs on our home machines (or our cell phones) as a matter of course. And we'll wonder why we ever needed these one-size-fits-all, centralized solutions. But, in the meantime, it's an interesting application area.
I was tempted to put a picture of the copper dome of the Zoetrope building next to the Transamerica Pyramid here, but perhaps this little gem from Wright's circular period makes the point better.