Haydn Shaughnessy writes that the future of blogging is in the sidebar. He corrects himself in the comments, stating specifically that the blog will change quite a bit in the next year. That seems far more true.
Om Malik provides a bigger picture of what widgets mean. Widgets are on the web. They’re on the desktop. Apple has built widgets into their OS. Widgets, Malik wrote for Business 2.0 “are part of a movement that’s exploding the Web into millions of tiny chunks and reassembling it for a new generation of Internet users.”
I’d argue that what we are really seeing is a whole new world of publishing that channels across the web. RSS is the transport for these media pieces. It is the syndication format that is under the hood, providing what it does best, horsepower and fast delivery to people wherever they may be. Most people may not know about RSS. But that’s not important. They’ll get the feeds that they want.
For instance, I check out Kris Krug’s flickr stream because his photos are so rock star. His photos are the main show. But what if I want to post his photos on my web site? I can use a widget from Flickr to get his photos posted on my blog sidebar as he updates his photo page.
Over the next year we’ll see photo feeds like the ones from Kris not just appearing in sidebar flickr badges. They’ll be seamlessly embedded into the blog entries themselves, no different than traditional static images. They’ll also be part of shows that mix the media from Kris and other talented people into micro channels, syndicated all over the web. In other words, they won’t just be sidebar fun. They’ll act as the next evolution of micro-publishing, where millions of tiny chunks of media get distributed to places where they are not just a sidebar gadget but serve as the main show themselves or as integral media elements within a larger HTML context.