Colin Walker

on social media, tech, blogging and the internet.

If I’m not a blogger then what am I?

Blog handsOver the past month or so there has been a distinct feeling of unease spreading across the web with bloggers appearing to be increasingly insecure about their position in it. This first became really noticeable with the discussions surrounding the problem of fractured conversations.

Having their posts spread across the web by aggregation services with no control over the conversation and the subsequent arguments over commoditisation of content caused a number of bloggers to question their worth.

Louis Gray played devils advocate by suggesting that blogs had no inherent value and deserved no advertising revenue – the backlash was hardly surprising. Michael at Remarkablogger questioned the term blog asking if it was unprofessional and holding us back and I asked a similar question of the term social media.

Louis has now rocked the boat again by asking if bloggers should be accountable and display their stats – a sensitive issue with bloggers at the best of times. Bloggers are renowned for being stat obsessed; it’s an element of vanity that goes with the territory of putting yourself out there but no-one likes to talk about it in public in case they are accused of bragging etc. 

Finally, Steven Hodson posted yesterday echoing the sentiment that blogging needs to be called something else and his post was the catalyst for me to write this – the straw that broke the camels back so to speak.

What is happening?

Are the majority looking at the likes of Robert Scoble and Darren Rowse and becoming jealous of the success (and consequently the income) they have received from blogging and related Activities?

Is there a fear of becoming lost at sea amongst the myriad of new bloggers appearing all the time,  many of which are perceived as adding no value to the conversation?

Is it a fear that other forms of media such as podcasting and video blogging as well as micro blogging are taking over? The two ends of the ‘new media’ spectrum are spreading further apart and there may be a concern that they are leaving a vacuum in the middle ground: the traditional blogging space. A number of bloggers seem to be increasingly precious over the format just as others are saying that this particular dog may have had its day.

Self preservation

Is the self preservation instinct kicking in now that blogging has gone mainstream and the elite are moving on to new things? Is this problem limited to just blogging? Look at the discussion recently around whether social media is going, or will go, mainstream – myself included.

Is this a cry for validation? A lot of people are investing a lot of time, money and effort in the web and perhaps the current financial climate has got a lot of people looking over their shoulder.

Where do we go from here?

If not bloggers then what? Self publishers, authors, writers, journalists, what? As Steven mentioned where is the line which means we have “outgrown the confines of the concept people have of blogging” – the old image of a personal ‘web log’. As I said before, the term blog has become a part of modern language and everyone knows what one is, if we try to move the goalposts are we making a rod for our own backs?

What do you think?

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Image by Kevin Lim.

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May 1, 2008 - Posted by | Blogging |

7 Comments »

  1. Sorry if I broke your back 🙂

    As for jealousy – nope – whatever success I manage to achieve will be through hard work and readers liking what I write. Jealousy is a null game that will only end up hurting you.

    In regards to podcasting or videoblogging I think that many bloggers will naturally gravitate – or include – those mediums in the conversation arsenal so I don’t think they apply.

    While the term blog has gone mainstream it is such a wide all encompassing term. I realize that we are probably stuck with the term though even though I think it could prove to be detrimental to some.

    I wrote my post more as a way to express my thoughts on the matter not as we must change this type thing but I’m glad that it got some folks – like yourself – talking about it 🙂

    Last blog post..How stupid does DHS think bad guys are?

    Comment by Steven Hodson | May 1, 2008 | Reply

  2. Good response Steven. Obviously differnet elements of the post aren’t aimed at anyone but could be possible suggestions as to why there is a bit of insecurity at present.

    I agree that a lot of bloggers will adapt – I’ve been toying with the idea of podcasting or vlogging myself but just not gotten round to it.

    Yes, it’s good to get the conversation going as I think we need to address these issues – if not to change things at least to make better use of what we have.

    Comment by Colin | May 1, 2008 | Reply

  3. I’m a “blogger”. Love the term. My father and my wife are both actual professional journalists. I’m not. So blogger works well for me – it still evokes the raw, amateur, authentic notion of online writing.

    Last blog post..Did You Notice a Change in Your Google PageRank?

    Comment by bhc3 | May 1, 2008 | Reply

  4. @bhc3

    For all I know I could be way off base in my thoughts. I am the first one to acknowledge that. If the time came where the term blogger was equal to that of a journalist, reporter or columnist then I probably wouldn’t think about it twice. right now though as we move forward with some overly geeky type person wanting to spew forth their daily angst 🙂

    Last blog post..Vista SP1 pulled from Auto Updates

    Comment by Steven Hodson | May 2, 2008 | Reply

  5. I love blogging for the way it increases your visibility with the search engines. But that also applies to directory links, and they are going out of style as well.

    It seems to me that the distinction between having a blog vs. a full website is getting blurred as people ad blogs to their websites, and the blog more and more just becomes a way to notify RSS subscribers about new content on your main site.

    Yes, the meaning of blog has changed. It is no longer just the medium you use to post your day to day opinions and associate on your opinions about life and current events.

    Comment by B. Rene Williams | May 25, 2008 | Reply

  6. I like citizen journalist myself. Cutting out the big business which currently controls the traditional media opens up the media again. Currently in Australia we have 1 family owning most of the media: the one they can’t control is the blogsphere. I think our time is only just starting – I think the public is tired of being fed the same day on day diet of pop culture and suffiicial analysis

    Last blog post..Battle of Attu

    Comment by lissie | June 4, 2008 | Reply


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