Great businessmen know how to follow the trends and strike when the iron is hot. However, great minds follow their own beliefs and trends seem to follow. You see it in the fashion world all the time, one person can wear their collar up and it seems to catch on all over the place. Is the idea of a popped collar anything new? Of course not. Hell, Eric Cantona sported it back in the early 90’s and I’m sure he wasn’t the first.
For some people it caught on and for others it didn’t. Very few ideas are new and the rest of them just follow a cycle. That cycle is the trend and in every industry of the web you see over 90% of the companies falling at the end of the trend. It seems so many of us fail to see the obvious and capitalize on it or we just don’t realize that the trend is over.
Blogs are nothing new. The revolution they have created on the web is nothing short of spectacular. However, they are ingrained in people’s minds now so claiming them as the next big thing isn’t effective. They have already been the next big thing many times over. Email newsletters were the next big thing years before that. Community sites and forums have always been the next big thing.
Some people like to pretend they can see a trend coming. Some people actually act on the upcoming trend. The rest fight for position at the bottom tail of the trend. There is a problem with trends and that is we tend to latch on to them and once we do that we can’t let go. That doesn’t mean you should give up on something. Blogs won’t die and for example, blog networks shouldn’t give up on them. However, continually thinking that the blogging trend as it is right now is going to remain strong will only leave you hurting later.
Musicians do this with their music and the one-hit wonders become that way because their music doesn’t evolve. Blogs become that way because their content doesn’t change (not the topics being discussed, but the content itself has to move on). This site gains in traffic every month but it isn’t exponential growth. I’m sure Kottke and Gruber would say the same thing. Nothing has really changed with these sites. We have latched onto one trend and haven’t let go.
That isn’t a bad thing though. We do what we love and that’s very important to maintain. However without adapting there is no growth and for many sites no growth (exponential) means death. Here’s a hint though, People and Communication will always be the next greatest trend.