Ian Hoar – Passion for Technology – Geeking Out - Technology, Web, Toys, Games, Design, Entertainment, Gadgets, & Geeking Out

Quick! Stop writing your blog, it’s so 2004

According to Wired writer Paul Boutin we Bloggers should all pack up our bags and move along. In his article “Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004” he does hit on a lot of valid points, but there are also glaring oversights. Either this is link bait and I’ve taken it hook line and sinker or this guy is seriously out of touch with the Blogsphere.

Yes, there’s a lot of crap in the Blogsphere, a lot of scams, a lot of spam, and “paid bilge”. Am I missing something here? Aren’t forums, email, IM chat, feedback forms, and even Twitter and other social media platforms plagued by this parasitic garbage everyday? Aren’t we constantly hearing about how the newest CAPTCHAs have been cracked? Nothing on the web is immune from the darker side of human nature, just as real life is not either. The scams, the spam, and the get rich quick schemes are everywhere, so really I see no reason to single out blogs.

The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.

Why would my time be better spent on any of these services? Flickr is a social photography site and has nothing to do with what I am generally writing about. Facebook is a collection of friends and family, people who may have no interest in what I am talking about and a very small audience compared to what I can garner from a blog. Twitter is something I do understand and use daily. It is one of my favourite social media platforms, but it is an augmentation to my blog and a place where I can share quick short ideas with like minds. As much as I like twitter it has no where near the quality of the blog sphere and there is only so much you can express with 140 characters.

Where is the fun and satisfaction in posting to a select few on a social media platform?

I think where Boutin really misses the point is what fun is writing stuff that hardly anyone will see? A lot of bloggers write because we want too, not because we want to be the next Engadget. He further goes on to point out that other prominent figures are quitting the blog scene, so I guess that means we all should too; total rubbish.

Impersonal is correct: 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.

He’s right, an independent blogger probably can’t crank out 30 posts a day, but who cares, that’s not the point. Are you looking for quantity or quality. I follow many of the large tech blogs like Engadget, and they are fantastic resources, but they are also open flood gates. Smaller Bloggers like me sift through the deluge of information and break it down into smaller more focused bits of information. There is also a lot of specialization and niche topics in many smaller blogs that you just won’t find with the larger ones.

As for how personal a blog is, that’s really up to the writer. I’m not writing my blog for the personal interaction, that’s what social media platforms are for. I’m writing it because I like sharing issues I have solved with other people, expressing myself and occasionally ranting about an issue I feel passionate about. The social aspects which do come from blogging are just an added bonus, and I have met some cool fellow Bloggers during the life of my blog.

If we applied this negative attitude to everything then we wouldn’t have independent music, or small startup companies, because really, we are just being shoved aside by the big labels and corporations so why bother?

It always comes back to the dark corner of the web

That said, your blog will still draw the Net’s lowest form of life: The insult commenter. Pour your heart out in a post, and some anonymous troll named r0rschach or foohack is sure to scribble beneath it, “Lame.

First I will say that I have received far more positive posts than negative. Everything from thank you to contributing more information to a topic. This is typical of big media villianizing the Internet in general. Everyone is evil, everyone is bad, there’s nothing good on the Internet. This kind of thinking is typical of media outlets like CNN and it’s just not true. There is so much quality on the Internet, and the good far outweighs the bad. The only reason spam can flood our inboxes is because it’s automated. When it comes to real people posting on the web, there is no other testament to the good outweighing the bad than Wikipedia. If the trolls really outnumbered us, we would not have the great many resources that exist online today.

The little guy has a voice

Right now my blog is averaging 200 unique hits per day and growing; that is far more than I could do on any of the services Boutin mentioned. I love writing, and watching my traffic slowly grow has been very rewarding. I don’t think the Blogsphere is going anywhere, and I think mainstream media and big business are afraid of independent voices. If you live in Canada and followed the Rogers and iPhone pricing schemes you would know first hand that blogs have an effect, especially thousands of Bloggers uniting all chanting the same thing. We can create change, and it’s happening every day.

Keep writing and don’t let anyone tell you to stop, especially Big Media

Boutin has missed the real point of blogging. It’s not about beating the huge corporate blogs (although being the next super blog is always a nice thought), it’s about being an independent voice. It’s about saying a product sucks, or talking about what the mainstream isn’t talking about. I have several posts that appear on the front page of Google when searching, so the little guy can still be found.

Never let Big Media scare you away, mainstream television news is still talking about the horrors of the Internet daily. The web is a great place where everyone can express themselves. If Twitter or Facebook are your thing, than use those too, but if you like Blogging, never stop writing.

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