Breaking: This whole blogging thing is melting

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Wow. All in one day, I learn that the Facebook platform is dead, Blogs are passé and RSS is only used by 11% of people (or some percentage of those who know what it is).

Here’s my response: 1. I have no idea if the Facebook platform is alive or dead. I’ve got left-over MREs from Y2K, however, so I think I can survive its demise, if it should occur. 2. Asking people if they use RSS is like asking people what size air filter goes in their car. RSS is now entrenched in the infrastructure of the sharing web. It fuels widgets, it automates blog posts, it enables all sorts of gizmos and thingees that the average web user would never recognize as RSS. Nor should they. Web users should click on a button that says, “bring me information about this topic or from this source.” How it gets delivered will probably involve RSS, but who the heck cares.

And about that post that is transparent flame bait, the one about blogs being so 2004. Here’s a surprise for you: I agree. I started blogging in 2000, before anyone normal thought it was alive. I’m fortunate, because had I waited until someone explained to me what blogging was going to become, I doubt I would have started. And if I thought blogging meant writing why and how lots of bloggers think blogs should be written, I would have seriously considered never again using the Internet.

Three things I didn’t know when I started blogging that had I known would have prevented me from starting:

1. When I started blogging, I didn’t know blogs were going to be tools used by marketers.

2. When I started blogging, I didn’t know blogs were going to become a mass-media platform that have all sorts of metrics that measure eyeballs and incoming links and who’s on top.

3. When I started blogging, I didn’t know that people were going to get paid to tell others how to write blog posts and their first advice was going to be, “You should write every headline with phrases like “how to” and “three reasons why” and every post should be in bullet points.

What I’m about to say is not about the blogging format that is being used by media companies or individuals who want to have a publishing platform or a marketing channel or an SEO strategy. Bless you, all. But what I’m about to say is addressed to individuals who don’t want to “blog” or “publish” or be a “media,” whether mass- or mini-. It’s just for people wondering whether or not they should have something on the web where they can share recipes or rant about being mis-treated by an airline.

While I don’t think it’s important for people to have a blog (I do and, well, it’s going to stay around for a while), I do think it’s important for everyone to recognize the need to have some form of identity online. A base. A place where they can point people when the time comes for them to have a seat at the table of all that takes place in their world — and the world.

This blog is the online base of my identity. However, if I didn’t have a blog, I think I’d at least have a tumble log like those you can set up at Tumblr.com in about two minutes. The cool thing about those is that you don’t really have to write anything, you can just post links or videos or whatever. And then, when you need to, you have a place to rant when you get treated badly by some airline. (Here’s mine.)

Also, if I didn’t have a blog, I’d be sure to have a LinkedIn account or a Facebook account where I could do lots of what I can do on a blog, but also network with lots of people who also may or may not have blogs but can do all of the same things you can do with a blog. Also, I think every company should have blogs for every product and service and person in your company — even if you don’t call them blogs. But don’t think of them as being “ads,” but more like places to explore the passions you share with your customers.

It was fun being a blogger back when it was not about beating someone else’s metrics. It was fun being a blogger back when you thought the only people reading it were those you told personally about it. It was fun blogging back when you didn’t know it was something that had to be monetized. Of course, if you’re like me, you’re still living back when and blogging is still fun.

Which reminds me: One of the reasons I like Twitter is that you can instantly block anyone who tries to tweet using bullet points.

  • *Applause*

    Earlier today I came to the conclusion that blogging wasn’t going anywhere, because there is no other way to do do medium and long form prose online. Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc all don’t support it. Here is the article http://seanreiser.com/content/blog-dead-long-live-blogging

  • Hi Rex,

    I saw the article and considered it to be “viral” at its best. I’m relatively new to blogging, but I can already relate to your post. I’m not going anywhere, but it’s interesting to see the history and how things have morphed.

    For the time being, I’m still having fun…

    Cheers!

    George

  • Although I have spent time as a blogger (had two blogs in the past that attracted pretty good traffic) I’m in a season of life now where I don’t have anything I want to consistently blog about publicly but I do still have a need for an online home base or identity. I’ve Twittered but it’s not quite as flexible as I want and Facebook is wonderful but it is a closed community, so I appreciated being reminded about Tumblr. Tumblr is a perfect speed for me right now and its a good compliment to Twitter and/or Facebook. Set up my account last night.

  • I have so much to say on this topic–so, so much–but I get overwhelmed trying to organize all my thoughts. Good job on this.

  • Fred Wilson has some sound advice in the comments:

    >>>i use all these tools. blogging, tumblogging, twittering, facebooking, flickring, disqusing, etc, etc

    >>>each is good for something unique and worth doing if you’ve got the time and inclination

    >>and that’s not going to change anytime soon

    Additionally, Tumblrs look like fun. I think you can have the best of both worlds on a Tumblr created on the WordPress platform. I think WP gives you a lot of flexibility to make your tumblr blog your own, whereas with Tumblr you are stuck with their options. Good insight, however. For me, a WP tumblr is just a better personal expression engine.

  • Steve Rubel also answered this meme pretty well yesterday, given that mainstream media is adopting blog sourcing and creation:
    http://www.micropersuasion.com/2008/10/blogging-journa.html

  • It’s unfortunate that the name of the tool has become so intertwined with the activity — Blogging, good blogging any way, is still good writing, communicating, marketing whatever. What Rex does is effective marketing for himself and his company. It just happens to be on the Internet, with the technological benefits he aptly points out.

    In the good old days, did writers/editors say, “I’m going to No.2 Ticonderoga about this issue?”

    Using blogs, Twitter or Tumblr or whatever the NEXT big thing is still boils down to the same thing for savvy marketers. Whether the blog phenomenon survive is mostly irrelevant. People and companies will still find a way to communicate and build relationships supported by the latest tools. But the message or content is what counts, not the pipeline.

  • 2. Asking people if they use RSS is like asking people what size air filter goes in their car….

    Great line Rex, a closer analogy would be “do they use the air filter in their car…” 🙂

  • @Gary – They may not have said, “I’m going to No. 2 Tconderoga,” but they did say, “I’ll pencil you in” and “He penned a great article.” However, I do agree with you. I once said on this blog that Facebook was successful because it had all the tools of blogging, but you never heard someone called someone who used those tools a “Facebooker.” (A few months later, however, I heard Hillary Clinton refer to “facebookers.”)