I opened the new issue of Wired today to an article, the title of which caught my attention immediately:
Kill Your Blog
The author, Paul Boutin, seems to be under the impression that blogs are, well, so 2004. Now, apparently, “the blogosphere, once a freshwater oasis of folksy self-expression and clever thought, has been flooded by a tsunami of paid bilge.”
One could see this as true. He references Technorati’s list of the top 100 blogs, all of which are corporate and/or professional blogs making a tidy yearly sum from advertising. The era of personal, one-writer blogs may appear to have been pushed aside in favor of blogs that have multi-person staffs working twenty-four hours a day to deliver the most valuable content to their readers.
But to be completely honest, I’m not convinced. I rarely visit the sites that have 5+ posts per day. Why? For one thing, I just don’t have the time to keep up with all of it. Who with a full-time job and a personal life does? Additionally, the information provided seems less valuable to me than that in single-person shops. Some of the biggest blogs in the world spit out content constantly, making them, essentially, online newspapers. I can set up Google alerts for the headlines on any particular topic without having to trudge through paragraphs of news. No, I find much more value in poignant, thought-out posts from individuals who a) know and honor their blog’s focus and b) take the time to research, ponder, and analyze what they are about to present to the world.
For me, as a marketeer and young professional, this is why luminaries such as Chris Brogan, Seth Godin, and Penelope Trunk keep me coming back. They don’t spew out superficial content, but rather provide information combined with references and anecdotes … the kind of juicy stuff you don’t get with these money-grabbing assembly lines.
I do not think anyone should go out right now and disband his or her blog. Ignore your Technorati rank for a second and look inside of your community. Do you have “regulars,” or people who continue to return to your site? Are many people subscribed to you via RSS or email? Is your comments section a haven for discussion, arguments, and debate? My goal would be to answer all of those questions with a yes. This is the value for me as a blogger. My aspirations as a blogger – and I realize I’m very, very early in the game here with this particular blog – is not to earn $75,000 per year because of some well-placed advertising. I’m happy knowing that I give people something to think about, whether they agree with it or not.
Twitter is heralded in the Wired article as being “to 2008 what the blogosphere was to 2004.” One cannot deny its influence on the Internet and, specifically, the Web 2.0 world as we know it. From Barack Obama to Britney Spears to Padmasree Warrior, CTO of Cisco, ‘tweeting’ has become a great means of communicating with particular communities because it’s so fast. It takes a fraction of the time to write a thought that is 140 characters versus putting together four or five paragraphs for a blog post. I love Twitter. I think it’s a brilliant tool to connect with one’s community as well as to follow others who provide you with ideas that you find useful.
But it won’t stop me from reading blogs, and I don’t think it will render blogs obsolete. As much as people say that information-gathering needs to be quicker and briefer to compliment the fast-past life in which we all live, someone will always find a need to go a little deeper into a thought, an idea, or a concept – and that’s where these speciality, individual bloggers come in.
Keep it up, guys! Boutin may not agree with it, but I’m still reading … and if you got this far, apparently you are too.