Does Blogging Matter Anymore?

Or is it just a matter of perspective?

This piece in Wired today seems like flamebait, and several bloggers have gladly obliged. The title alone begs you to clickthrough, i.e. “Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004”.

It reminded me of a conversation Paul and I had months ago; the short version was “does the conversation, specifically blogging, matter anymore?”

There are so many voices now that you’ll struggle to find the good ones or even trust their integrity as voices. Every company has official blogs, which are generally assumed, sometimes unfairly, to be marketing rags; many people who once blogged for fun, now do so for big bucks, etc.

Take the Oracle blogosphere as an example; we’re not exactly charter members, having been around about a year and change, but in that time, the number of blogs aggregated by OraNA seems to have doubled, at least. I know several teams in product development have started blogs, and I still think this is a good thing.

I have a hybrid view of the question: the conversation does matter, but not as much as bloggers would have you believe, myself included.

Consider the people who have moved away from blogging, e.g. from the article in Wired, Jason Calacanis and Robert Scoble. These are early adopter types, not mainstream; their opinions matter mainly to other early adopters. So, it’s pretty easy to understand why they’ve left blogging as it became more mainstream.

As the mainstream jumps into blogging, the content becomes more, well, mainstream. Not a bad thing, just different. You could argue that blogging now is more important than ever, due to its ever-increasing reach and expanding audience, whereas in the good old days of 2004, there were a lot fewer opinions bouncing around the echochamber.

Plus, the options aren’t equivalent, e.g. Twitter, though it forces brevity suffers from the same signal to noise issues, and it’s more effective as a communication mechanism than a broadcast one. If you use Twitter, how many broadcasting-type people do you follow, i.e. those who only publish content and rarely reply @ anyone?

This whole discussion tempts me to point to the observation Paul made earlier this year that Web 2.0 has jumped the shark.

Obviously you read blogs. What are your thoughts? Do you blog too, if so why? If not, why not? Does the conversation matter to you, or is it a diversion?

What makes a good blog? Reporting news, adding opinion to news, both, neither?

Do you dis/like the proliferation of blogs, especially from within Oracle? Why or why not?

I actually am interested. It’s good to know this stuff when people ask.

AboutJake

a.k.a.:jkuramot

11 comments

  1. I don't think it's dead. Maybe the blogging for money is dead. I've “made” exactly $23.64 with ads (and yes, I've considering pulling them, I just seem to be lazy). I don't think I had any grand illusions I would make money off of it. It was a way to give back to the Oracle community. More than anything, reading blogs (Tom Kyte, Lewis Cunningham, et. al.) gave me insight into the way they approached problems…that was the key for me. I can look up how to do something in the Oracle docs, but why, when and where to use it I got from their blog entries.

    It's also my own personal history. I find myself searching through my site looking for something I did in the past, simply because I forgot the exact syntax. That's kind of nice…

    For the “pros” out there…it's a lot harder to make money.

    For the Oracle people, I encourage everyone to start one because everyone has a unique perspective. It also allows you to gain a sense of purpose, learn to write (communicate) better and helps you form an opinion on something (I hate commas before the start of a line, code should be “pretty,” etc).

  2. Two excellent points for blogging: 1) Google, see my thoughts on the path of least resistance and 2) history of your own thoughts, or notes.

    And a few others, very nice. Methinks this is an early adopter whine, and honestly, how many TechCrunches can the market support?

    Pro blogging is a pretty tight market, but there's definitely room for growth in other areas, to which you allude.

    Plus you get to “meet” interesting people around the World. And talk about important things like songs that annoy you . . .

  3. All I can say is ditto… Your post expresses exactly the points I would have made, right down to the amount of money made from ads. 😉

  4. So what makes a blog worth reading for you? Are you consuming information or looking for a conversational blog?

    I tend to think pro-blogging is headed for consolidation under one brand. I don't think a shrinking ad market and limited content will keep them all afloat.

  5. Blogging is just another media, it's content that matters. You have junk tv, news and magazines that drive let advertisers drive content, many pro bloggers I feel are headed that way. However there will still be plenty of good content and as barriers to entry are almost non-existent more good content will abound.

  6. I agree, as long as there's interesting content, I'll continue to read. I will say my tolerance for pro-blogging is pretty thin, since they've gone the route of fair and balanced coverage. Meh, sounds like a news outlet to me.

  7. I definitely think blogging still matters.

    It's true that as the number of the number of blogs increased, it's harder to get attention. But like advertising, the point shouldn't be to get the largest number of lookers but rather the right lookers. A successful blog is one that builds an audience actually interested in what you have to say, who wants to be part of *that* conversation.

    Also, as you've pointed out the blogosphere has been diluted with uninteresting content. Bloggers who post because they feel obligated to and have nothing valuable to say. A lot of echoing and linking, and very little perspective.

  8. Sounds like we all agree that blogging, as it has evolved, still matters, but the old ways are, well, old. The Scobles of the blogosphere have realized this and adapted their blogging and moved to other outlets like Twitter and FriendFeed.

  9. As a non pro blogger, I can write my opinions or what I am interested in, not what will get an audience (or a particular market segment) to read the blog. Of course I have to abide my my employers blogging guidelines and all that too…

  10. You used to write your opinions, not so much anymore. I know, work intervenes, and it's too bad you can't include that among your work tasks. Maybe someday, at which point you'll be the trainer, having all that experience.

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