In the tech world, where tools and gadgets are way cool one day and so 2004 the next, is blogging really dead? According to Paul Boutin, who ironically writes for the Sillicon Valley gossip blog Valleywag, blogging is out and being replaced by the next generation of social networking tools – Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. In a recent WIRED Magazine article, Boutin says that the mainstream media has taken over the blogosphere with professional writers, who break the big stories these days.
“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, and TreeHugger. A stand-alone commentator can’t keep up with a team of pro writers cranking out up to 30 posts a day,” says Boutin.
Boutin raises excellent points about the commercialization of the blogosphere but fails to recognize that blogs are still a crucial web tool to distribute info and news even if they are not listed in the top 100 on Technorati. Furthermore, while microblogging tools like Twitter are certainly cool they are limited in telling the longer, more personal story.
What do other experts think of Boutin’s controversial claim about the death of blogging?
“No. Blogging isn’t out of style,” says social media expert Chris Brogan. “Twitter and things like it are a moment in a timestream. Blogs are a bit more anchored, and allow us to stay within a context. The other tools are good, but they don’t replace blogging.”
Elisa Camahort Page, cofounder of BlogHer (a network of over 2200 women authored blogs) says she thinks of Twitter more as a mega-chat and adds: “blogs continue to be the place where people introduce, explore and discuss events in their lives, ideas in their minds and the causes they care about.”
Investors could not agree more. A few months ago venture capitalists poured $5 million into the BlogHer network. They also negotiated a partnership with NBC Universal who owns iVillage, Oxygen.com, and BravoTV.vom, which will give them access to BlogHer content, as well as promotional opportunities across the BlogHer network. In January of 2008, Akismet, one of the largest blog platform providers received $29.5 million in venture funding for continued development of WordPress. Not bad! Analysts predict that the major blog networks such as Blogger, TypePad, Moveable Type, etc will rake in $300 million for 2008. Not bad either.
According to the blog search engine Technorati 175,000 new blogs are created every single day. 570,000 entries are posted daily and reach 70 percent of web users according to a March study by Universal McCann.
While blogging still remains quite popular and lucrative for many, there is a lot more competition and major players then there were in 2004 so standing out from the millions of bloggers is a challenge.
Camahort Page and Brogan offer the following advice.
“Promoting one’s blog is not much different now than it ever was…find your blogging community and become an active part of it. Read, comment, link, reference, cite,” says Camahort Page. “There are also more sites than ever to get your work and your word out…BlogHer, Kirtsy, StumbleUpon, yes, Twitter and Facebook. The list goes on. Use them, they want to be used.”
Brogan adds, “NOW is where Twitter makes more sense. Being active, being part of the conversation, commenting more are all ways to get attention and awareness flowing. Another way is to find great people doing great work and praise them for it. Do MORE than anyone else in being attentive and loving to the people in your space, and it comes back. I’m living proof.”
Truth be told, Paul Boutin is living proof too!