Should You Stop Blogging?
Wired has posted an already-controversial article about how blogs are "so 2004", and how services like Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr even are here to replace them. Writer Paul Boutin says:
Thinking about launching your own blog? Here’s some friendly advice: Don’t. And if you’ve already got one, pull the plug.
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. Cut-rate journalists and underground marketing campaigns now drown out the authentic voices of amateur wordsmiths. It’s almost impossible to get noticed, except by hecklers. And why bother? The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.
Update: Now that this article has had some time to circulate around and collect more discussion and more thought, I have to come right out and say, the notion that blogs are obsolete is a ridiculous one. There have certainly been some valuable points made about the problems with blogs, but just because there is room for improvement, does not mean that they’re dead or dying.
I would even go so far as to say that they’re just getting started. Yes, there is plenty of worthless content out there. I would personally say the same thing about television, but do I think television is dead as a medium? No (Granted, I do think there is some big change coming for TV courtesy of the online video revolution, but that’s another discussion entirely).
One reason why blogs are in no danger of extinction, is that their content is entirely "on demand" – meaning if you don’t like a blog, you don’t have to read it, and you can move on to another one that you do like. You can subscribe to the ones you enjoy and get all the content you want, and if you don’t like the content from one of those at any point, you can simply unsubscribe and stop reading it. If you have any complaints about a blog, then you have the choice to go elsewhere. Why is that a problem? Why would that signal the extinction? Because "elsewhere" could be Twitter or Facebook? I don’t think so.
Back to my original article:
Obviously, people have some things to say about that. So let’s look at some responses from bloggers:
At PureBlogging, I personally said: "Blogs are not obsolete. You know why? Because I still read them everyday. I still write for them nearly everyday. And so do countless others (that probably includes you). If you ask me, blogs are more relevant than they’ve ever been, because they are more mainstream than they have ever been."
Amit Agarwal at Digital Inspiration says: "The advice published in the Wired story is equivalent to asking mom and pop stores to close shop as there’s a new Wal-Mart store in the neighborhood. True, the competition increases but both entities can still peacefully co-exist and survive well."
Eclectic Bill writes: "First, even though there are thousands of professional magazines out there, this has not stopped beginning and amateur writers from publishing their own magazines. And given the long tail of topics out there, there is plenty of room for both the professionals and amateurs in the blogosphere. And I find it a bit ironic that someone who claims that "text-based Web sites aren’t where the buzz is anymore" is writing for Wired.com which is largely text-based."
Not everyone disagrees with Boutin’s article though.
Canadian blogger Mark Evans says: "It’s been about five years since blogs emerged on the media landscape. There are more than 175 million blogs – many of them well written, insightful and/or interesting but you have to wonder if blogs as we know them have had their day."
Some commenting on the Wired post itself say things like:
"I agree the blogging community is choked with too much commercialism and too many people trying to be the next big thing. Sometimes I wonder if people wish to have a little advertisements with their blog or a little blog with their advertisements. …"
"Yes, you are right, if your goal is to be seen, to build a personal brand, to surf a hype wave, then blogging is passé and it is time to move to other forms of social communication. In fact, and for most people, having a blog was the modern equivale…"
Wired and Boutin no doubt knew that this article would cause an uproar from bloggers, and you have to give them credit for some interesting linkbait. It certainly provokes discussion, and I’m all for that. So let’s continue that discussion. What do you think? After reading Boutin’s article, do you agree with him?