Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
July 14, 2008 6:40 AM

Blogs Are Not Dead

Hugh MacLeod is not just a wise man who draws cartoons on the back of business cards. He's also got a great Blog on the Social Media space called, gapingvoid that I constantly check out (you should too). He had a fascinating Blog posting yesterday called, cheapeasyglobal. It would seem that some in the Blogosphere enjoy tossing about sayings like, "Blogs are dead."

I agree with Hugh - who is agreeing with something Clay Shirkey (author of Here Comes Everybody) said way back in April 2004 during an interview with Gothamist:

"So forget about blogs and bloggers and blogging and focus on this - the cost and difficulty of publishing absolutely anything, by anyone, into a global medium, just got a whole lot lower. And the effects of that increased pool of potential producers is going to be vast."

But, there is a sub-story going on here that speaks to the human condition. I commented on Hugh's Blog posting, but thought I would re-post and add more thoughts here.

Blogging takes effort. I think you need to have a passion for writing and communicating in the written form to really make it work.

As a former Journalist, I quickly realized that most people Blogging were doing it for the same reason a dog licks itself (because they can). After a short while, I started seeing the "chinks in the armour" - a lack of substantial content, no new insight, and what turned into a "look how cool I am" series of postings that looked more like personal press releases than a Blog.

As photos, videos and apps like Twitter came along, it was easy to see who was going to make the defection.

I think the people saying "Blogging is dead" are those who are not passionate writers by nature, and are simply focused on the next shiny object.

There's a huge benefit to Blogging that includes Search Engine Optimization and really seeing how The Long Tail can help your business or your personal goals to get your message "out there." There's also another side - it's a personal journal where you can publish what you're thinking, when you're thinking it, and you don't have to rely on what we've come to expect from mass media print publications as metrics for whether or not what you have to say is successful. This includes not following a regular print schedule or the creation of an editorial calendar - you can, pretty much, just wing it - build your own voice, style, flow and feel.

Blogging is great and will continue to be because, as Shirkey states, it's a cheap, fast and an effective way to get a message out there.

The challenge is that it's a lot of hard work and it takes time, so when something comes along that takes less work and less time (like Twitter or uploading photos from your digital camera), people are quick to jump... much in the same way people jumped on to Blogging at first because the barrier became a lot lower from what publishing was (refer back to Shirkey's quote).

Blogging may be dying for those who were just waiting for something faster and easier, but for those who like to write and share their ideas, Blogging is still fresh, new and extremely powerful.

BTW, I'm sill reading Shirkey's, Here Comes Everybody, and loving it.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Kerry
    Mitch Joel

    I agree that although blogging allows a great number of people to comment online and share their thoughts, it REALLY does take consistent work to keep it up after the novelty wears off. As someone who's only been blogging for several months, I also agree with you that you've got to like writing, in general, in order to stay with it.

    Reply
  • Posted by Connie Crosby
    Mitch Joel

    Interesting discussion, Mitch. While blogging is not dead, it has definitely changed. I have been blogging for over 4 years now and am still committed to it, but do find I am willing now to post less often (using Twitter as a "quick fix") and hopefully post something more thoughtful and in-depth. I do notice tools like Twitter being a great way to start a conversation and then move that discussion into a blog. So, our use of these tools is maturing and that is not a bad thing.

    Cheers!
    Connie

    Reply
  • Posted by Phil Barrett
    Mitch Joel

    You nailed it Mitch - you need the passion and the drive to make your blog work.

    I can give somebody a $300 pen (ok keyboard), but that won't make them a better writter. A blog is just a better "pen" for those who didn't have one before.

    At the end of the day, you still need some writing chops.

    BTW - aren't you a "journalist" again now that you're writing for the Gazette? :)

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    Thanks for this post M. Joel. You've just pushed out all my worries about blogging.

    I love the writing, I love to read and exchange ideas. I'll keep the working machine's power on! :P

    Reply
  • Posted by Thomas Rydahl
    Mitch Joel

    As with other of the new media I believe blogging is here to stay in a big way. Of course, like any other new thing, there's gonna be a lot of interest in the beginning from people who're not really into blogging, but are just trying it/themselves out. As Mitch Joel says, blogging takes commitment and serious mindtime. I plan to blog a helluvalot more than I currently do, the commitment not lacking, but time rather. Moonlight blogging is an option. Personally what I love about blogging and podcasting is the (in many ways) inherent authenticity and realness of these to media as opposed to news papers etc, where the big media blocks or inhibits the personal opinions and likes of all other but the editor or an other select group. I think the future belongs to honest, personal, niché-oriented casting/journalism/writing/publishing, attracting a select and loyal group of followers on a multitude of platforms. Just like Mitch Joel (book, podcast, twitter, blog, pigeon post...)

    Reply
  • Posted by Ricardo Bueno
    Mitch Joel

    I'm following the conversation we started at ConversationAgent.com...

    Undoubtedly blogging takes time, energy and commitment. Sounds pretty stressful huh? Like when you're read a job description at an interview and you think "ugh". But when you enjoy it...when you're passionate about it...(1.) time doesn't matter, (2.) you have more energy because your motivation & mindset are in the right place(s) and (3.) the commitment is anything but stressing (rather you embrace it with open arms).

    Blogging is not for everyone. If you're flailing rethink your motivations. If you want to get better at blogging, refocus your mindset.

    Reply
  • Posted by Eden Spodek
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch, there has been a lot of discussion about the death of blogging. I agree with you and think of what's happening now as a maturation process. I'm considering launching a second blog this summer.

    After I read your post (and some others decrying the death of blogging), I put out a question on twitter about the state of blogging. No one seemed to think it was dying it all but I was amazed at how many replies I got all within minutes - much faster and no less thoughtful than comments on a full-length blog post.

    Reply
  • Posted by Marc Meyer
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch, I have to think that those who have said that blogging is dead are the ones that did not see the immediate results that they assumed or expected. When they didn't, they moved on to your shiny new thing analogy. I liken it to the person who says they went to a particualr bar or restaurant, saw there was no action and told everyone that it sucked. Meanwhile those of us who stuck around long enough, found out they served free drinks and had a killer band once the assholes left.

    Reply
  • Posted by Rick Ripplinger
    Mitch Joel

    Blogging is just in its natural evolution to its rightful place. I am in way too many meeting where Web 2.0 and blogging is incorrectly suggested as the great savior to a given situation.

    I agree blogs have their place and will thrive as long as there is good content.

    Reply
  • Posted by Masho Bosatsu
    Masho Bosatsu

    assholes pay the bills - is it your playhouse , or is it a market? Will it even be there next year, or is it the telephone?
    --

    Reply
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