Keep Blogging Weird: Not Wired

Posted on October 23, 2008. Filed under: Observations, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , |

In a recent article for Wired Magazine Paul Boutin declared the Blog dead. His argument is that blogs were good while they were being written by the little guy but now that the blogosphere is dominated by the likes of the Huffington Post and other magazine style writings, the little guy should move over to tools like Facebook, Twitter & Flickr.  I spoke with Robert Scoble last night at the Austin Tweetup about the so called “death of blogging”. He reminded me that this article appears on a regular basis and that there are always people claiming to have found the reason why blogging is dead.

I have to take issue with this.  I am a transplanted Austinite, originally from London, England.  Here in Austin we have a slogan “Keep Austin Weird”, it refers to the area south of Ladybird Lake downtown where you will find an eclectic mix of independently owned stores. No big box chain emporiums but rather odd and yes sometimes rather weird places that, be you resident or visitor, will make you smile, laugh and quite probably part with your money.

If we were to talk Paul’s advice then we would simply shutdown this eclectic mix of stores and invite in the big boxes because after all they have the marketing budget, they run ads on TV and in the Sunday inserts, so how can the small single owned store possibly compete and yet they do.

In the article Paul argues that the only feedback you will receive for blogging will be naysayers and hecklers and that your chances of appearing on page one of Google results for any given topic that you blog about are zero.  I think Paul is sadly misled as to why most bloggers blog.  Certainly speaking for myself I do not blog to end up on page one of Google. 

Perhaps Paul would be well guided to pick up the classic “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser.  Chapter Two addresses the most relevant point in any writers mind – “Who am I Writing For?”

“Dont try to visualize the great mass audience. There is no such audience – every reader is a different person….. You are writing primarily to please yourself…if you lose the dullards back in the dust you don’t want them anyway”

I do not write with the expectation that thousands of people will search for my article on google.  Those who enjoy what I have to share know where to find it and some of them are kind enough to pass on the location to their friends, just as many people, having visited the weird shops in Austin pass on their location to others.

I agree that Twitter, Facebook and Flickr are great tools but they do not replace blog writing, they augment it. I am an avid user of Twitter and have written about it several times, as I have Facebook.  But they do not provide the outlet that writing a blog does.  Twitter takes me little or no discipline.  I post here 5 days a week, I write 7 days a week ( I post to Dad-O-Matic on Sundays), that takes discipline.  I am a better writer for it and I feel as though I am providing something for those who like to read.

So to Paul Boutin I say, Keep Blogging Weird.

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