Wired has a new, somewhat controversial article about blogging:
Thinking about launching your own blog? Here’s some friendly advice: Don’t. And if you’ve already got one, pull the plug.
Author Paul Boutin makes some valid points:
- The blogosphere is dominated by online magazines, corporations, and paid bloggers.
- Insult comments and trolls wreck personal blogging.
- Text-based Web sites are sooo 2004; social networking and video/audio/image-heavy content is the thing.
It can be argued that it’s hard to compete with the likes of the Huffington Post, Engadget, Boing Boing, or the like. This blog — and most likely your blog — will not be in Technorati’s list of the top 100 blogs. But if that’s why you’re blogging, then no wonder it’s unsatisfying. The first person you should be blogging for is you, which is what I intend to argue in my presentation at the Georgia Independent School Association conference the week after next. If you are simply trying to get a big audience, I have to question why. Sure, it’s nice to have regular readers and commenters, but if your main concern is being the most popular, most read, then I, for one, wish you wouldn’t blog or wouldn’t start a blog because I think you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.
Insult comments suck. Trolls suck. They’re part of the Web, and they’re one reason why despite how much I love Web 2.0, I don’t have my students establish their own blogs. Maybe I will some day, but I know how furious it would make me if my student received a trollish comment I wasn’t able to delete first. There are always folks who feel it’s OK to be rude jerks, and for some reason, the anonymity possible with the Web brings out the worst behavior in people in that regard. However, what Boutin doesn’t mention is that all the blogging systems I can think of have comment moderation, and no one is beholden to publish comments at all. A comments policy should cover anyone interested in allowing comments.
Many changes made to blogging allow for all kinds of media to be incorporated into blogs, and indeed, a lot of the posts I see (and some of my own, at that) incorporate this media effectively. I don’t know why they should be considered mutually exclusive at all.
I have become a much more reflective person as a result of blogging, and I don’t think it’s an inherently bad idea to blog, provided one is doing so for the right reasons and has given some thought to direction, purpose, and policies with regard to blogging. I like Twitter, but 140 characters will never be able to replace what I do with my blogs, and I enjoy Facebook, but I don’t use it for the same purposes of self-expression that I do here. Maybe it’s because I don’t take many pictures, but even though I have a Flickr account, I am just not into it (aside from finding good Creative Commons licensed photos to use on my blog).
I guess my response to Boutin’s claims is that they’re legitimate, but that blogging doesn’t have to be defined in such narrow terms and for such narrow purposes as he proposes. What are your thoughts?
[via Roger Darlington]