Lynne d Johnson



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05.20.07 01:24 AM

Has Blogging Run Its Course?

(I originally posted this on my Vox blog back in January, but I thought it might be well used in this space also. I think I was inspired to republish it here because of a recent IM conversation that I had with novaslim.)

Now, as I write here more often than I do on my own site, I'm wondering whether blogging is running its course. The things that drove me away from my own site included lack of time, lack of communication with my readers, and the overwhelming amount of new blogs on the scene. Not that there were too many blogs, it's just that too many of them aren't any good. What I mean by that is well, often they're not well written and quite the lot of them are SEO hoes disguised as gossip sites. How many wire images do I have to look at?

Get a perspective. Get a clue. Go out and take your own photos.


I remember talking about this on my own site in a few posts, and even touching upon it in some published articles I have written. I remember the old days, 2001, even 2002, when I knew who I was talking to when I wrote in my blog. When I had a real relationship with my audience. When blogging was fun. This is what I'm finding Vox to be.

Today though, I ran across this WSJ opinion piece from Dec. 20 written by Joseph Rago. In it he writes:

"The larger problem with blogs, it seems to me, is quality. Most of them are pretty awful. Many, even some with large followings, are downright appalling."

What's interesting is that I find myself agreeing with much of what's written in this piece. About two years ago though, I probably wouldn't have. He's not writing about blogging being over -- as if -- as much as he's writing about the need for checks and balances.

What say you?

Here's the wisdom of the crowd from my original post on vox:

Holly wrote:

Doesn't it depend on what type of blogging you intend to do? The focus of this article seems to be news and political blogs. Supply and demand applies; those who only seek attention and don't bother with quality will likely grow bored with the lack of comment and go away.

And self-publishing has always - and will always - suffer from not being "a major institutional culture that screens editorially for originality, expertise and seriousness." But the cream will rise to the top; the unique and powerful voices will be heard; the mediocre will hover around the bloated middle; and the crap will eventually settle to the bottom. For those who blog merely to stay in touch with family and friends, all this is irrelevant, anyway - or should be.

To think that it is all "decay" is to express distrust in our Constitutional principle of freedom of expression - to say that the marketplace of ideas will fail because we can't find - let along distinguish - good ideas from the tumult and noisy clamor of the ridiculous and inane, when in fact, blogging may simply be a way of breaking up the established monopoly of "MSM." Yes, there's a lot of garbage out there, but it's still a fertile ground in which a variety of ideas, opinions, and writings can grow and flourish.

Perhaps this period of blogging is like a lake during the fall turn-over.

Checks and balances? Why thwart spontanaiety? The typos alone will help to separate the wheat from the chaff.

As for the SEO blogs - the "nefarious crap" - I think they'll find the tactic backfiring sooner than later. Then again, I'm always inclined to put far too much faith in human nature, to assume that people will grow wise and resentful and refuse to buy from companies that play at that game, and I am continually proved wrong. Still, hope springs eternal.

erin*carly wrote:

[this is good] i don't fancy myself an author. just your every-day, run-of-the-mill blogger who hopes that anyone reading my words will get my strange and sometimes witty comments . . . or that anyone is reading at all. i don't write with any intent beyond wanting to share stories, interesting ideas, and sometimes my relationship drivel. however, i do consider myself a writer. correct capitalization may not be in my vocabulary (except when writing for work), but i write as i would talk to someone on the street in sentences, thoughts, and most of the time, non-sequitors.

in speaking on the quality of blogs out there (mostly with personal / memoir type blogs, since that's my personal experience), i think the line gets drawn between the following types of posts:

ex. 1: omg, so this dude comes up 2 me and says "girl, u are so fine, u no?" since when do guys think they can talk 2 me like that? wtf, right?

ex. 2: So last night, the girls and I went to this fantastic bar on 57th and 5th Street to catch an after-work drink. Out of nowhere, this guy comes up to me and lays it on thick, "Girl, you are so fine, you know?" Since when do guys think they can talk to me like that, especially when they can see I'm clearly more interested in my martini.

mind if i add you to my neighborhood? i really enjoy your style and perspective on blogging. always reading, always learning.

Jason wrote:

[isto é bom] I'm a snob. I know this. Bad writing. Poor design. Faulty logic. They all turn me off. Having just pruned my google reader feeds, I realize that I've pruned almost all the blogs that aren't written by professional writers unless they are friends or are great aggregates of other content. Most of my feeds now are legitimate news sources with editors or established blogs with a track record of quality.

I don't think blogging has run its course but I think that what I want and what I get out of doing it has changed. There are more zealous writers in the areas of pop & social culture that appeal to me so I don't feel the need to write as I once did. I no longer feel the need to be heard by a larger audience than my neighborhood (whether in the vox sense or otherwise) and I, too, miss the community feel that was there in the early part of this century. We all knew each other and commented. A post on a blog would have a ripple effect. Now, that's no longer the case.

It's cool. It's just time to adapt. For me, it means going retro. The vast majority of what I post on Vox is a real Web Log as it was originally thought of: a central place to collect the things that mean something to me on the web or elsewhere.

Mahoganie wrote:

[this is good] It's funny. when I first joined Vox, I considered myself a blogging whore. I've kept 4 online journals in my virtual life. and plenty more in reality. I've never seen blogging as something to gossip about or just shoot the shit (sorta speak) it was more of me trying to find and understand of myself and af orm of therapy. In light of all that I've written to myself (if I happened to catch the eye of some outsiders than so be it) I decided to turn my perspective into a novel. So I'm working on that. I held back on nothing in my virtual pages and in some essence I continue to do so.

As for my newfound virtual life here on Vox... I find it's a bit different. I'm still writing for me, getting perspective on things, but now that I am amongst a community of people that are perhaps interested in some of the things I'm into.. it is FUN to write randomly, post a silly entry or two and of course... continue to make my observations about life... my life.

Blogging is just like any phenomenon. Some will treat it like a fad and will (perhaps) post anything for their moment of fame. Others... won't care so much but use an online journal as a tool to help bring out the deepest part of them. Then there are the "professional" blogs as posted through news/media outlets on current events, entertainment and other worldy things. Some can be thought provoking, others... just junk.

It's all in what the reader takes in.

As for me personally.... my writing... my life.. my words....

Markus wrote:

I am what you all may call a blog noob! So maybe my perspective is comparable to yours 2 years ago. But, what makes blogs so attractive, to me, is its rawness. No stuck up editors watering down content, no lame reporters scared to write what's in their hearts for fear of repercussion, and most importantly (to me) the ability to speak in your voice, as opposed to that boring corporate lingo.

With just about any media platform, bad content is inevitable, but what may be good to some may be bad for others. Let's let the people decide . Over time the real will prevail and the fake will be exposed.

Another thought:
Do you think that blogging for money, either through ad sense or with companies like payperpost, effect the amount of bad content? Do you see blogging running the same course as hip hop in the late 80's and early 90's?

kitty wrote:

[this is good] Blogging has become an incredibly democratic, and I think that's a good thing. It is kind of like when desktop publishing became widely available and everyone and their uncle started up a zine. Overall a positive thing, but there were a ton of awful zines, and then the whole thing just collapsed. I think there's hope for the blog as a means of creating community without making it into a "product".

Ms Apple Bottoms wrote:

[this is good] anitra and i have these conversations all the time. i think blogging has changed for those of us that were doing it way back in a lot of ways. i remember having to explain to people just what a blog was and why i was into writing one and reading those of others. now blogging is a pop culture reference on every television show and in every movie. we aren't so much a community anymore as just a few people in the greater system of things.

i like vox, and as i get more into it, i'm finding a lot of people that, as Mahoganie put it, are interested in the same things i am and want to see the pictures i post. that is what it was all about way back on geocities.


like kitty, i think there is hope for getting that community back. we just have to build it again.

Mathilde wrote:

Many moons ago, a friend weary of my emails (Oh, how I would send the emails), sugggested that I have a blog. I promptly ignored her, claiming that blogs were like a box of chocolates. Who would read me? Why bother?

And after reading more than my fair share of piss poor writing and completely slamming the latest corporate newsletter wondering where the f*ck they got this drivel they call writing aloud... three cubicles over from the author (who really never talks to me anymore), I thought: What the hell. There's worse out there. And I could do without having to invent a new distribution list every time I put together a missive.

This particular community has been AWESOME for me. But I really only read a few technical blogs,, and a couple on NYT. Who has the kind of time to read bad writing?

That in no way discredits the need to blog. I consider the slave narratives a sort of blog. If they could have done it, they would have. Can't you imagine Incidents In The Life of a Slave Girl?

Reader, you wouldn't believe this shit. He won't leave me the fuck alone, begging me to have sex with him and THEN he asked me to love him. Talking all that shit about how he loves me. Love him? I'd rather fuck the neighbor. As a matter of fact... I'm gonna do just that.

Dom and Jenn wrote:

[this is good] It seems to me, and I by no means consider myself a writer, that blogs are just todays version of your standard web page. The products out there to design a web site come with tools that allow for dynamically changing pages. For the most part we have commercial/organization sites and personal sites. Every time we see a personal site I think we just call it a blog. So yes, I believe there is a lot of crappy blogs out there and I also think that the writing will naturally allow the better blogs to float to the top. Tim Wu called the Internet Meritocratic meaning that the best sites that do the best is the ones who have the best product and I think thats also true for blogs.

Bookmole wrote:

[this is good]

Bill Cammack wrote:

[this is good] Blogging had to become diluted. The same thing that makes it accessible to anyone makes it unregulated. That means that anyone that wants to type ANYTHING can call it a blog and list it as a blog and there's no way to find quality blogs because everyone's listed on the same lists. That's where aggregators come in, at least as far as video's concerned. Someone has to be responsible for finding good blogs and creating a place where you can go to browse the list of "respected" blogs.

On top of that, there's no qualification requirements as far as life experience when talking about topics in a blog. It's just everyone's two cents. For instance, someone who's never done XYZ with a woman in his entire life can post a blog giving tips on how to do XYZ with a woman! :D Someone might even link to this garbage and expose the rest of the blogosphere to it!

I think the answer has to be "blog clubs" like they have "book clubs".

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