Blog not shiny? What’s the object?

Jeff Cobb of Mission to Learn notes via Facebook that someone at Wired thinks you shouldn’t blog any more:  Paul Boutin writes that Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004.

I’ve never been a fan of Wired; it’s like the love child of Fast Company and Martha Stewart Living. To me, it’s full of people who don’t think you’re doing things right and all too eager to straighten you out. With that disclosure out of the way…

Boutin sounds a bit like the graying souls who remember how great [insert website name here] used to be — you know, before [insert point in time here]. To the extent that there are shills, opportunities, and scam-meisters behind blogs, why is he surprised? That’s what happens with technology: people start using it in ways that you didn’t expect.

Let a hundred presses blossom...Can’t you just hear copyists in England bitching and moaning about how great publishing was before William Caxton set up that damned printing press?

Just because entire cable channels shriek about attractive  young white women who’ve disappeared doesn’t mean you should stop watching television.

Boutin says that “the time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook or Twitter.”  As a comment to his article notes, “You used a long blog post to announce the death of blogging? There could be some baby in that bathwater…”

I don’t think I even want to know how Boutin defines “better spent.” How is this snit different from saying, “You oughta be watching Henry IV (Part One) instead of Dancing with the Stars?”

Or vice-versa?

He focuses on the fact that the top 100 Technorati sites are dominated by professionals. If your burning ambition is to have a two-digit Technorati ranking, then you’ve got a lot of flacking to do.  (You’re also way too busy to read my blog.) Otherwise, have some coffee and relax.

It’s true, as Boutin points out, that blogs made self-publishing easy. And sites like Flickr or YouTube make it easy to public visual or audio material.

Still, although he says that the real appeal of Twitter is brevity, it took him over 600 words to say that. (That’s a standard op-ed column size, by the way; he’s not exactly trailing clouds of innovation across the digital sky.)  Based on character count, he could have managed it in 28 tweets — but that wouldn’t suit Wired, which I assume pays by the article and not by the Twitter volume.

To me, Boutin is confusing the product (blog posts) with the process (communicating). He’s also paying way too much emphasis to advertising and revenue, topics that easily turn the blogosphere into an Amway convention.

If your interest is in having conversations, rather than inviting people over so, once they’re gone, you can check under the cushions for the change they spilled , then Boutin’s “discovery” is less than startling.

Not having a blog because Robert Scoble (or Tina Brown) does is as silly has having one because he does. Blog software lets you be all about you — your interests, your opinions, your passions, your distractions. Whether anyone joins in is optional.

Printing press photo by Vlasta2.

5 thoughts on “Blog not shiny? What’s the object?

  1. Way to say it Dave. I do take issue with the change spilling and Amway references (as much as they made me chuckle). Everyone has a trail of money and their own business model unless you’re a volunteer or something. So, I’m saying that sometimes the process of communicating has to be underwritten. I get that each month when I hand wads of cash to Verizon and Vonage. They can’t provide service for free (unless they develop another business model). With blogging, the value is in the content and the communication. Purists tend to turn their nose up at anyone who makes money on their blog. Some money makers dirty blogging. Your message is not lost on me. I agree with your take on this article.

  2. Janet, it’s astonishing how few people ask me for advice about what to put on their blogs. Less astonishingly, few ask me to pay for those blogs.

    I agree that everyone has a business model, and they don’t have to please me with it. On the other hand, if I run across that model and it reminds me of a digital version of a NASCAR-driver jumpsuit, only less understated, then I get to say so.

  3. Kia ora Dave!

    I always have the time to read your blog.

    And by the way, it’ll only cost you a few dollars to give me some advice on what to put on MY blog. I can email you my bank account number :-)

    Kia ora!
    And thanks for a great post and a good laugh!

  4. Once more unto the breach, dear Dave (Okay, I know that’s V) – Your thoughtful critique stands in perfect contrast to my original tweet (yes, that was a tweet feeding into Facebook) as a repudiation of Boutin’s argument. Well done. – Jeff

    (BTW – I like that “Subscribe without commenting” feature you have here. I’m going to have to look into that.)

  5. Jeff:

    You’re just trying to get on my good side, with St. Crispin’s Day coming in a week and a half. I am but blogging for the working day; my gayness and my gilt are all besmirched with rainy typing on the daily blog…

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