01/05/2008

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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Colin Walker Colin Walker colin@colinwalker.blog