How to appeal to non-bloggers? Think virus wikis
I haven't been blogging. I've spent the best part of a week in Oregon, wandering from the misty coast to the high desert to the vineyards along the Columbia Gorge, and I have yet to meet anyone connected with the blog world in any way (at least as far as they told me.) To be fair, there were probably some bloggers or at least blog readers at those cafes in Portland and Bend. I didn't go around tapping on their tatooed shoulders.
My point is that blogging seems enormous and nearly omnipresent when you're doing it, but can seem marginal when you step away. Will blogging inevitably spread to rest of the world? I don't think so. Lots of people look at the computer as an information tool--a search engine and e-mail machine--but prefer to have most of their human interactions elsewhere. I've tried to interest my wife, for example, in our local Montclair, NJ, blog, baristanet. She'll use it for movie schedules but has no interest in reading or writing comments (and has trouble understanding why anyone would).
I think it will take new types of blogs to broaden the appeal. They'll function as tools, and will feed less from comments to other types of input. One example is this new virus wiki (from Ross Mayfield). Here users create the value by contributing data. It's promises clear value, even for the comment averse.
An apology to bloggers in Portland. I suggested beers or coffees in Portland, then promptly got caught up in family stuff. I'll respond to your e-mails in the next couple of days--from the east coast.