21 October 2008 ~ 20 Comments

Has Social Media killed blogging?


Wired’s (and Valleywag) Paul Boutin writes a eulogy for Blogs. Link-bait? Probably, but he certainly raised the ire of several in the online community, myself included. Heck, he even got me to crawl out from the rock I was hiding these past few months and pen a few words of commentary, in defense of blogging (yes, I recognize the irony 😉 . I think Mathew Ingram wrote the best counter to Paul’s argument, so I’ll let you hop off and read his discourse before returning to hear a few questions I’m pondering.

Here’s what I found myself wondering after reading Paul’s post:

  1. Why does having a number of different authors make the blog any less “blog-like” – i.e. if there are still good blogs out there, albeit less personal and more representative of a group of persons who all share a similar view on a particular topic, why can’t that be considered a blog? Shouldn’t the litmus test be the value of the content they produce, regardless of the person(s) who created the content?
  2. Why does the fact that blogging about mainstream topics like presidential candidates makes it difficult to rank highly in google equate to “kill yr blog”? Google is all about relevance, always has been, always (most likely) will be. If the most relevant answer to a searcher’s query could be found on a personal (or professional) blog, it would rank high. For “Barack Obama”, aren’t most searchers looking for that wikipedia page, or the Fox News article (ahem, wouldn’t MSNBC be more likely?!) What about the blogger who writes about a passion topic, something like the greatest college basketball team, and wants to be able to connect with those who share that passion. Is this form of community no longer valid?
  3. Why does the “insult commenter” need to ruin the fun for the rest of us? Assigning so much power to those silly flame comments seems to ignore the power the rest of us have to ignore things that don’t add value. It’s like the reviews people post on Amazon, with a absurdly high (or low) score but no substantiation for their claims. People today seem to be far better equipped to deal with hype and BS, and tune out what doesn’t make sense in favor of what does. I strongly disagree that these silly one-off comments really degrade the experience the rest of us enjoy.

His close though seemed to help me understand where he was coming from:

As a writer, though, I’m onto the system’s [Twitter] real appeal: brevity. Bloggers today are expected to write clever, insightful, witty prose to compete with Huffington and The New York Times. Twitter’s character limit puts everyone back on equal footing. It lets amateurs quit agonizing over their writing and cut to the chase.

Ok, so as long as you and I agree not everyone writes about topics covered by the mainstream media on a daily basis, I think Paul will agree with us that the platform still adds value. I’d love to try and have a meaningful and interactive and ongoing marketing optimization discussion, 140 characters at a time.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments- are you reading more or less blogs today than 4 years ago?

As well what are the topics you enjoy reading about *outside* of the mainstream media (and any blogs you like that cover those topics). For me, scanning my bloglines start page shows:

… just to name a few! So if you’re out there blogging, please feel free to ignore the opening advice from Wired, and keep up the fine work- I’m sure your audience appreciates it.

20 Responses to “Has Social Media killed blogging?”