Understanding Spheres

SpheresIt sounds a little hokey when folks describe the Internet as a Webosphere or bloggers as the Blogosphere. However, there really are layers that are plainly evident. As your website’s viewership continues to grow, visitors begin to visit in greater frequency and attract more dollars.

It’s difficult to crack the shell of each of the layers, though. You build a website or blog and it often sits with no visitors or attraction until invited in. That invitation comes by way of other websites, rarely by any other means. Media companies are the exception. Media companies already had mass distribution so they were able to leverage that distribution to build a foundation on the web.

Unfortunately, traditional media was slow to adopt, though, so they’ve had to pay handsomely to regain some of the momentum they lost. The folks who were lucky enough to get in the web early (some with and most without talent or a great product) are still reaping the benefits. They were the pioneers who claimed their stake in the land that is worth so much today.

Search engine optimization experts, new a-list bloggers, and successful e-commerce companies understand that the way to build a successful internet company is to slowly chip away at each layer to get to the next. Many of the lessons learned from the first ‘bubble’ were the mistakes made by many young rockstars, they though there was no end to the piles of cash that were piled high at the beginning. They got there first hit on the charts, but they couldn’t keep them coming.

Web 2.0 may be a combination of technology and social influence, but it’s more about reinvesting the capital and chipping away at the layers of the spheres. You may be able to break through a layer here and there by paying for it, but you have to sustain your new-found popularity and continue to push on t the next layer. If you’re a new blogger or an experienced ecommerce giant, it doesn’t change. The “Web Cemetery” is full of dot coms that didn’t recognize that this is a marathon and not a sprint.

Attention and money are not distributed evenly. Attention on the web is about the same as a 10-year old full of cake and Mountain Dew at a Birthday party. Money becomes infinitely more dense as you get nearer the center of the circle. Before the web, we didn’t have any access to that money, we didn’t even know where it was… it took generations of influence and connections to scrape away. It took finding the right path and the right people. On the web, it’s different, though.

The Webosphere is waiting for the next big thing. An entire infrastructure is in place to wait and find the next big thing. Search engines and technologies like Digg are the most prominent. Google is building an application every time you turn around to maintain layers between themselves and their competition. You and I don’t have the resources to compete with Google. However, any individual company doesn’t own the web nor can they compete with great products, great ideas and the people who work hard to bring them to market.

Each word on your blog chips away at the next layer. Each design change that attracts another visitor helps chip at a layer. Each change to optimize your blogs findability chips away. Each time you get a trackback, it chips away. Each time you comment on another blog, it chips away. From webosphere, to blogosphere, to obtaining readers, to even making the A-List of bloggers – the journey is a long one. But any one of us can make it.

The other nice thing about a sphere is that the gravitational pull gets greater as you get closer to the center. One day your blog is rated 500,000 and six months later it’s at 5,000. Most people will run out of steam, run out of ideas, run out of money, or simply wear out their song on the charts.

It’s the turtle and the hare… the turtles have it! Keep chipping away!


  1. 1

    Perhaps with a bit of regret I see SEO/marketing/online business blogs (a generalized group) dominating the blogosphere. While promotional blogs make up only a small fraction of the amount of user generated content they are disproportionately represented in social search such as blog search, delicious & technorati.

    SEO’s naturally dominate the search engines, that is why they are called search engine optimizers. I’m not necessarily saying this is a bad thing, its just nice to have a balance.

  2. 2

    Very inspirational piece. I like the way you visualized the layers and the work we do that adds to the “chipping” of these layers.

  3. 3

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.