"Let life enchant you again." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
January 29, 2006

Blogs: Deepcasting And Shallowcasting

Bloggers want to do deeper and wider, revealing more to broader audiences in more meaningful exchanges. Could changes in technology be making that easier?

Recently, I mentioned the idea of shallowcasting, which has came up as I was thinking about blogs to add to my links. I’m not trying to create a string of “how-to-blog” rules, but I do notice I prefer blogs that are not just content-rich, but also link-rich (and even conversation rich). To me this adds a degree of depth to the experience of the blog. By contrast, I don’t like to link blogs that have no comments or few links because they tend to provide little by way of discourse context; they feel conversationally shallow to me (despite how good their main content may be).

So I have been toying with the terms, shallocasting and deepcasting, to explain this issue. It is already pretty obvious that the existing media terms, broadcast and narrowcast can be applied to blogs. In fact it seems clear to me that the blogsophere is simultaneously becoming a broadcast network for some and nothing more than a narrowcast network for others. My hope is that shallowcast and deepcast will be two ideas that help us think a little more about the way the structure of the blog shapes the experience of the blog.

Saying a blog is shallowcast does not mean it has poor content (some shallocast blogs have fantastic writing). Rather, it is a call on the experience and relationality of the blog. A shallowcast blog has a narrow focus, it draws you in specifically to its content, but in some ways is like a room with only one or two doors (even if it has a great view out the window).

By contrast, a deepcast blog has many doors, and possibly many ways of enjoying the view. It draws you not just to content, but into conversation. This may be because of extensive comments, or because of a wealth of links, or because of breadth of secondary information (which in a blog usually appears via the sidebar).

Deepcasting is no guarantee of either the quality or popularity of a blog. There are some massively sucessful shallowcast blogs and some woderfully designed, rich, yet obscure shallowcast blogs. However, I think the question of whether to aim to be a shallowcast, or deepcast blog is one that sometimes reveals a great deal about the appoach a blogger takes to their work (and to the rest of the blogosphere).

Without doubt xfn, or relational netwroking promises to be a big tool in expanding deepcasting. I look forward to implementing it in due course.

NOTE: Of course this didn’t evolve this way at all, because social media came along, and was an easier way for most people to find depth and width in their online communications.

Duncan 18 years ago

Hi Fernando. The idea of shallowcasting, deepcasting and relational networking in blogs is food for thought. Occasionally I’m tempted to remove a few links from my blogs as they’re not reciprocated. In some cases the links on my sidebar are to bloggers who are quite different to me. I’ve appreciated your occasional comments at Pacific Highlander. They’ve certainly added to my relational connectivity.

Fernando Gros 18 years ago

Thanks. I’m going to post more on this because I suspect the issue of how relational blogs are will be one of the thrends for this year.

Steve 17 years ago

I am a Communication professor coming in late on the new media train. I don’t have a blog, myspace account, facebook account, or website. But, I am teaching a course called Trends this semester and wanted to address how convergence of new tech is creating a generation of media rich conversation that seems very shallow, particularly texting. I thought of using the term ‘shallowcasting’ but wanted to check if it is already coined. Tada, it is! You said it! Did you say it first? Doesn’t matter to me. I still like the term and how you have taken it beyond my concept of it and include its counterpart of ‘deepcasting’. By the way, you ever read any of Howard Rheingold’s stuff?

Fernando Gros 17 years ago

Steve – I’ve not read any of his books but found my way to his amazing blog a while back. However, I’ve now decided to pick up a copy of Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution.

Steve 17 years ago

I was introduced to Rheingold in a graduate studies course on Media and Technology taught by Patrick Burkart. He’s done a lot of writing himself in the field of New Tech.

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