Leave it to ValleyWag to stir up the bloggers. The other day, I noticed an article come across the wire through Twitter with the title, “Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004” which was published on Wired.com. The article was written by Paul Boutin who is a correspondent for ValleyWag. Once I quickly scrolled through the article and realized that it was a guest post from someone who writes at ValleyWag, I immediately realized the article wasn’t worth my time. I immediately discarded the article and went about my business. However, I’m noticing more and more people mentioning the article and so this morning, I gave it a read.
Paul makes one point which I agree with but overall, I think most of his statements are way off the mark. In the following article, I dissect bits and pieces of the article and explain why.
Writing a weblog today isn’t the bright idea it was four years ago. The blogosphere, once a freshwater oasis of folksy self-expression and clever thought, has been flooded by a tsunami of paid bilge.
Wrong. Starting a blog today is just as good an idea today as it was back then. While there was at one time, a period of which an enormous amount of content on blogs was published through the means of pay per post, those days appear to be over with and we are back to self expression. In fact, the majority of blogs I read are still made up of self expression. I think Paul is looking at all the wrong places and needs to come back to earth to see the real deal of blogging.
Scroll down Technorati’s list of the top 100 blogs and you’ll find personal sites have been shoved aside by professional ones. Most are essentially online magazines: The Huffington Post. Engadget. TreeHugger. A stand-alone commentator can’t keep up with a team of pro writers cranking out up to 30 posts a day.
This is one point that Paul makes that I agree with. There is no way in this day in age that one man or woman is ever going to compete with a team of bloggers, unless you’re that guy who writes the blog, StuffWhitePeopleLike.com. Like everything else, blogging has evolved from being a one man sport to a team effort. Not only do you have multi-author blogs, but you also have to deal with blogging networks. Despite the apparent brick wall laid out in front of new bloggers, if you contain that special talent of having a unique voice, Technorati’s top 100 list of blogs will have no meaning to you as you’ll be able to carve yourself a niche or a successful career thanks to your uniqueness.
When blogging was young, enthusiasts rode high, with posts quickly skyrocketing to the top of Google’s search results for any given topic, fueled by generous links from fellow bloggers. The odds of your clever entry appearing high on the list? Basically zero.
While it is more difficult to get in the top search results of Google with a blog today than it was in the past, this still takes place. Although there are many people who consume information strictly through Google, we have to remember that we now have Digg.com, Google Blogsearch, Stumbleupon and a whole slew of other sites and services that enable users to consume content without the need to be ranked highly in the search engines. Say the right things at the right time and people will notice, whether it is in the top search results or not.
Further, text-based Web sites aren’t where the buzz is anymore. The reason blogs took off is that they made publishing easy for non-techies. Part of that simplicity was a lack of support for pictures, audio, and videoclips. At the time, multimedia content was too hard to upload, too unlikely to play back, and too hungry for bandwidth.
Telling people that Text based websites aren’t where the buzz is anymore makes me think that Paul has fallen off his rocker. Despite there being video sharing sites such as YouTube and image sharing sites such as Flickr, the majority of content on the web is still consumed through text. Text is read by people and the search engines. Each medium has its own audience but I feel as though text will always be the medium for which the foundation of current and future content will be based off of. Videos, pictures, audio, these mediums will exist to complement the text, not replace it.
Blogging is not dead. In fact, I would argue that blogging is just now starting to gain traction with thousands of blogs being created every day. I tend to think that the article written by Paul was a sensationalist approach to explaining how blogging is dead, but it didn’t work. I invite you to read the article but also read the comments as they add to the conversation which was started by Paul. Seems many feel the same way I do.
This is your chance to speak out. Let me know in the comments how you feel with regards to the article Paul wrote. Do you feel that blogging is dead and microblogging is where it’s at? Is textual based sites dead? Let’s talk about it.
Image courtesy of eesti under Creative Commons
Blogging would not be dead as long as there is internet. It is getting much more a sort of trend nowadays. Some would even say its a hobby and one it is a form of expressing one’s self.
I don’t think blogging is dead, but I do think the pro blogger is going to face some critical challenges in this crap economy we;’re currently in. The half-baked blogs are going to start dying on the vine faster than they already do, and I personally believe there’s some stiff competition ahead. He who markets best, wins.
That said, I don’t think the massive-output blogs have any kind of advantage. I think maybe the blogs with smaller, consistent output will do well because really, who has time to keep up with all that? I think the two-person blog team could realistically compete in their chosen space. The big killers in the next two years for my money will be 1. Blog overload where a single site posts waaaay too much, 2. Blog burnout, where one person tries to do far too much and hits the brick wall 3. Blog saturation where, as with the five million music blogs out there, it’s all just too much for one topic.
In other words, it’s David Byrne and Talking Heads all over again. “Same as it ever was….same as it EVER was…same as it EVER WAS.”
@Sebas – First off, nice rant. Secondly, well said. You pretty much summed things up in a nutshell.
@Andrew – Yeah, maybe those Make Money Online blogs will finally start to bite the dust but for some reason, I doubt it. Everyone still tried to look for ways to make a quick buck which is why those types of sites or blogs will stick around for a while.
@Jon – Exactly. It doesn’t take much to get noticed in all honesty despite what Paul says. If you didn’t social network but all you did was stay within the confines of your own blog but produced quality content, it would only be a matter of time before you were noticed.
I agree with this post… blogs are not dead. They are still relevant.
I also agree with the point about not needing to rank well at Google. My brand-new “dad” blog is less than a month old and only has 9 posts. It’s only now starting to get indexed by Google, so it’s not ranked for anything. Yet a couple of my posts caught the attention of StumbleUpon users in the parenting niche. All told I’ve had thousands of visitors to my blog, averaging 1.7 pageviews per visit.
The key is to provide quality content and then network within your niche’s community. Besides, there’s a lot of content that you can provide through a blog that doesn’t work nearly as well (or at all) from sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Blogging may have been in a light sleep for a little while but more and more I am reading great bloggers who are getting back to the roots and throwing off the corporate shackles. There is still room for making money but I think the balance is creeping back in. Probably because Make Money Online has just gotten old and dull.
Blogging dead?… Yeah right.
That article is completely transparent in its intent. It is quite obvious that the author was simply looking to stir up some controversy, and probably drive more visitors to his own website.
The way I see it… blogging will only die the day that not one single person in the planet has something to say and the need to have other hear him/her.
While some of his claims are sound, especially the one about the single blogger not having a chance when put up against the “Big boys”, it is my opinion that the vast majority of people that take on blogging nowadays are not doing it as a means of making a livng (or any money for that matter). Blogging is and will always be a medium in which people can record their thoughts and ideas, and have them be accessible worldwide. The fact that some huge blogs take the top 100 spots on Technorati, or in any other indexing service, doesn’t mean that Billy for Anytown, USA should give up on his little blog. What would happen to the world if we applied the principle that only those that have massive audiences should be allowed to publish content? Next thing we know, those allowed to publish will be deciding what is appropriate or innappropriate. Not a world I’d like to live in.
Blogging gives the little guy out there an outlet, and as long as there are “little guys” looking for ways to make their thoughts known blogging will thrive.
****END OF RANT****