If you hate blogs, you'll love this...

28 comments
Source Title:
Has Blogger Backlash Begun?
Story Text:

If you thought the recent and ongoing Google backlash was a fun diversion, you'll enjoy what may be coming round the corner: Blogger Backlash! Certain types of bloggers, particularly PR bloggers, wind me right up, the whores of the online publishing world no less, but i do think there's great value in that new fangled medium all the cool kids are.. hey wait, were did all the cool kids go?

Let me pick out the best bits for you.

Blogs are the digital equivalent of the pet rock

Ben Gaucherin, the CTO in question, says blogs “are a fad fueled by pop culture’s desperate search for the next big thing.” When I spoke with Gaucherin he was even more emphatic than he was in his news alert. He told me that blogs are the digital equivalent of the pet rock.

How could discerning viewers not be turned off by blogs when CNN and other news stations try to make themselves seem hip by including opinions from the blogosphere in their news reports -- “Now let’s see what the bloggers have to say about this” -- as if bloggers constituted a separate sphere of intelligence.

Speaking for myself, I don’t want to hear what bloggers have to say about most current events for the same reason I’ve always disliked the person-in-the-street interview. My response is, Who cares? It is not representative and usually sheds no real light on the subject.

More in the original interview between Ephraim Schwartz and Sapient CTO Ben Gaucherin

Know what's driving this backlash? It's people that can't talk about anything other than bloody blogs...

Muhahahahahaha......

Comments

Let the Backlash Come

I have to admit I'm started to get overloaded on blog postings about how great blog postings are. (Of course, if you visit my blog, you'll see all sorts of postings about . . . blogs.)

I'm trying to wean myself of the habit, but frankly, writing about other blogs brings traffic. Writing about interesting things that no one else has thought of doesn't attract much attention.

I think the latter is the better way to go, but it's tempting to be a blog whore.

 

I just do my own version of blatherskite without worrying about any of the rest of it. Pet rock? Okay. I loved them the first time 'round, and I occasionally still paint my own.

Irony++;

With respect, Nick, I find the whole "blog backlash" as evidence of blogs being more than just a mere fad. After all, if you're seriously pissing a small segment of people off, you must be doing something right.

It's not like the concept of blogs aren't based on several things that have been around for some time. Blogs from software developers are a real reminder of the days when the more involved user-communities would talk about all the latest .plan files from their favorite developers. Moving to blogs has only increased the exposure those same expressions have gotten thanks to the ease of use of the web.

Political blogs certainly aren't going to go away anytime soon, and while the example of CNN is used, it's really the success of Fox News that shows that people will flock to news and discussion sources that basically say things they already agree with, which is why partisan journals have seen the growth they have.

As for mainstream users, in many ways blog software is just the evolution of content management systems for regular non-technical users. People have always wanted to share boring parts of their lives with others. Most families have at least one annoying extended-relation that has sent out an annual "this is why my family's been up to this year" newsletter with their Christmas cards. The vast majority of web pages for Joe Average user started out as "this is a picture of my cat, and here's the music I like" pages for much the same reason. People like to talk about themselves, something that's not going to change, and blogging software has made it easier than ever to do so.

So no, I don't see blogs, be they personal, professional, political or whatever else, as going away any time soon.

How many times have you read anti-SEO rants and said to yourself that the author should just stop letting themselves get so worked up over things that aren't going to just disappear no matter how much of a backlash they wish for?

 

Gosh, Derek, your post reminded me almost wholesale of the "pcmag biggie" columnist who a few years ago ranted nonstop about "vanity websites"....

*rolls eyes*

Clarification

If I came across as someone who's concerned with "vanity websites", I apologize for my writing ability making it seem that I'm overly concerned with them.

I joke about "this is my cat" websites in a sarcastic manner only because it's an easy image for many people to identify with. I believe that personal websites are often no more victims of Sturgeon's Law than any other type of site, including professionally done websites. One only has to look through commercial gaming news sites to see this is true.

I say this as someone who had a geocities "vanity" website in the 90s and a personal blog today, neither of which really contribute much of import. I even use Livejournal on a day to day basis to keep up with the lives of friends who are literally spread across the world and I see in person rarely.

I am pro-blog and pro-personal website even when the pages are crap because I know that there's nothing forcing me to read their site and there are no limited web resources that are wasted by their existence.

 

Oh, it wasn't whether you were "concerned" with them or not so much as the flavor was of denigration of personal efforts and personalities online as opposed to "important" endeavors....

And I should just point out that I'm quite apt to read more into statements than may actually be there. But then, I do find I'm fairly frequently right, simply because of the years I've BEEN online, and the amount of that sort of "putdownism" I've seen....

And yes, I DID have a vanity site "back then" though it was more related to my fiction, rather than my cats, dogs, and horses; and I have what some people consider "vanity" sites to this day.

dot plan... wow that was a long time ago

Right on with the .plan comment. Blogs can hint at what you're thinking or why you're doing something, without you having to spell it out or make a formal declaration.

Analysts at trade conferences, talking heads on TV, professional bloggers. They'll weed themselves out over time, unless people really want to read their stuff.

 

The only good things to rise from the sea of blogdom were a hastening of RSS permeation and 'trackback' (which, in essence, remains a good idea, unfortunately badly executed and open, like comments and email, to spam)

 

Actually Derek, im a big fan of blogs, so yeah, you're reading too much into it :)

What im not a fan of, is the uber-hype of what essentially, is a website. All of a sudden we have people pinging eachother back and forth about blogging business models like it was 1997 again....

It bugs me is all, and i've been saying for some time that eventually, the penny will drop, and all these web noobs will suddenly find out that just having a blog, does not really make you anything special, and certainly doesn't make you any different to the millions of other people out there making a living on the WWW...

Agreed

But it might be time to call an end to the beating-bloggers-with-a-shitty-stick threads? ;O)

Really?

When was the last one?

I havent slapped bloggers in a while i think...

basically

its a micro-bubble. It'll burst, and bloggers will be like the NASDAQ post .com boom. The key players will remain of course, but others who realise just how unimportant and unread they are will fold into themselves and implode in a shower of bodily pingback fluid. I kind of look foward to that day, really. There's too much citing of "face-on-the-street" opinions clouding over everything.

Blogs? - it's just web sites

You beat me to it Derek - i thought about the exact same analogy with the Geocities sites. Imho, a blog is no more and no less than a way of creating a web site easily. The ease of course appeals to people wishing to create personal sites in much the same way that Geocities sites do (did?).

However, the thing about CNN surprised me. I don't watch a lot of television, let alone CNN - do they really do that? Hilarious!

There's a long tradition in journalism of "voxpop" (Latin: Vox Populi) - asking "random average people" about their opinion on this and that. Typically you will find them at well trafficked streets, train stations, major bus stops, malls and the like - everywhere they are likely to run into "Mr. and Mrs. America" (or whichever country this takes place in)

I guess that this is only the next logical step. Plus it's easier, no need to send a reporter out in the street to meet real people - read a few web sites and you're done with today's work. Nevermind that not everyone have internet access, and only a small fraction of those publish anything - the other voxpop methods are not representative of anything either.

.....errrrr

Quote:
After all, if you're seriously pissing a small segment of people off, you must be doing something right.

....or you could just be very irritating idiot who isn't afraid to be laughed at.

Personally, I find the whole Blog thing deeply irritating. I know many of you Blog, and have no wish to insult anyone directly so I'll keep most of my thoughts to myself.

....but for those who Blog for reasons that are not related to hoovering up links for commercial gain, I must ask 'why do you do it'? Is it just a version of the nutter on his soapbox on Hyde Park Corner? Is it an insecurity thing? A need to be loved/hated/noticed? Why do you care that people know your inner thoughts, daily routine, opinion on brussel sprouts?

Honestly, the whole thing baffles me.

Then again...

...why do people post on forums (blorums)? ;-]

....

Quote:
..why do people post on forums (blorums)? ;-]

I 'get' that - its more of a realtime conversation and information sharing.

If Blogs are the 'Hyde Park Corner Soapbox' then forums are the 'going down the pub with yer mates'

 

Quote:
I 'get' that - its more of a realtime conversation and information sharing.

If Blogs are the 'Hyde Park Corner Soapbox' then forums are the 'going down the pub with yer mates'

Aha... see 4eyes, this is what i think you're missing, and hence not understanding. Blogs are like going down the pub, and are very much a conversation, albeit not as fast to get response as a forum.

With RSS, and trackback, the conversation is distributed, it's like every forum member having his own place in which to post fresh stuff, and respond to stuff other people have posted.

Within the Search marketing blogs, we all read eachothers RSS for example, we all check our trackbacks to see who is responding to what we've written - and on top of all THAT, you have the comments in the individual blogs own posts.

So you actually have a much wider, more dynamic conversation amongst people in your group, or any group for that matter - to join a conversation, just respond, trackback and subscribe to the RSS...

That's why i really love blogs, as a communications tool, they're awesome.

Markets and Conversations

THere's a very good thread about blogs, markets and conversations at cre8 also...

Misunderstood

I misunderstood what you were getting at, Nick, mainly because I was focusing on the linked article. What you're complaining about isn't bloggers, but the "Bloggerati".

The article you linked to, however, fails to make a distinction between the two groups and lumps them all into the same "sinking" boat, something that's just as bold (and mistaken) as claims the bloggerati that claim blogs will destroy traditional media.

The thing to remember is that even when the "new hotness" of business plans involving blogs dies down among the bloggerati, the number of blogs in existence will continue to grow. You can number the bloggerati in the thousands, but bloggers number in the millions. The reality is that for all the talk about the "important" blogs and their potential to influence and make money, there's millions of personal blogs that are merely meant to keep people connected to each other and won't go away if the bloggerati suffers a blog dot.com.

As for the usefulness of blogs for the average person to have, I would have to put up Livejournal's "friends page" that you can access from your account as a really good example. It collects all the entries of your friends into a single easy to read page for you to see what everyone's up to on a continuing basis. As others have said, RSS allows the same thing to be achieved through software for blogs that use a number of underlying technologies. It's a good reason why many email clients have or are looking at including RSS readers. With Mozilla's Thunderbird, I can check emails from friends and family who need to contact me directly, as well as keep up on all their latest entries about general things they want to share with everyone all in the same place.

Why

I have had an online diary or blog since 1997/1998, here is why

personal
- to avoid having to write the same email to a number of people about how I am and what I am up to
- when my daughter was born it was even more demanded that family and friends wanted family info and pictures

fun
- place to put links and content to stuff I found funny interesting rather than email everyone (used to have an email group, now moving that content to my wibbleshanks blog)

profit
- I want to move from being known in some circles as a techy to being known as knowledgable about marketing, need to show knowledge/opinions
- networking, got contacts I would never have otherwise from people who do not use newsgroups or forums but who do blog
- IBLs
- hopefully in future have a large enough audience to launch products and services

There is probably a small measure of "look at me" and vanity involved too :OD

forumblog blorum hoo-ha

why do people post on forums [...]

Because anyone can start a topic, and most forums are thematic, covering a certain thing (with the exception of things like genmay). This is why its like going down the pub with your mates (yay silly analogies) -- you have shared interests and a conversation. This draws me onto Nick:

Blogs are like going down the pub, and are very much a conversation, albeit not as fast to get response as a forum.

With RSS, and trackback, the conversation is distributed, it's like every forum member having his own place in which to post fresh stuff, and respond to stuff other people have posted.

As nice as it is to imagine that a weedy blog is as conversational as a forum, its not. Its flawed. Blogs are dictatorial -- one person (or group of people) determines what is talked about, and this is further reinforced by the blog format, where comments are always less glorious affairs than the 'stories' or articles they are commenting upon.

Conversation is further diluted and abstracted by the tools cited -- other blogs, RSS, and trackback. These do not improve the conversational aspect, they worsen it. They facilitate the ability to see what other commentators (dictators!) are saying about the same subject, but not in a conversational way (If I leave one group of friends at the pub to talk to others, whether its about the same thing or not, I am involved in a different discussion until they all sit down together in one place).

Checking RSS is no different than browsing the newspapers for similar articles, and as no comment aggregation goes on for whole topics, conversation is hindered by lack of overall interaction.

This place is much more forum than blog, which is why has worked so well, so quickly. Hurrah.

I think the blog resembles real life more.

IMO - most people go to the pub to talk to their mates, not to listen to them.

Well - a little bit perhaps, out of politeness {grin}

I'm not saying it's right, only that AFAIK it's true.

Let's compare blogs and forums to cars next!

Heh. I think you guys pushed your anologies so much they broke down.

Chris Garrett makes some good points about when to use email (push content) versus a blog (pull content).

I know that I'd love to get my family into using blogs for general updates on their lives, links or information or humor they found interesting, etc, because then it'd free up my email for when people need to send me something individually. Instead of trying to filter out forwarded jokes from friends and family in my email box, I could simply hit the RSS feed through the same email client when I really felt the need to see what's going on in Aunt Sally's life.

As for the difference between a blog and a forum, forums generally require something in common among members, no matter how small it may be. Having RSS feeds from blogs allows me to easy follow what people who wouldn't have anything in common talk about easily.

The last thing we want is a decline in the popularity of blogs

After all it would be damn near impossible to get links for those online casinos otherwise.

Forrester Mp3

Here's an audio of charlene li talking about blogs - it's kinda interesting, but nothing new for many in this thread...

Good lord, who cares?

Seriously? Who cares? People want to set up websites blathering on about their personal stuff... who cares? If you like to read them, great! If you don't like to read them, don't! Simple, isn't it? The people who write cat blogs probably enjoy reading other cat blogs. The people who write political blogs probably enjoy reading other political blogs...

...and as a few astute folks have pointed out, a "blog" is just a website with a convenient CMS installed. IT'S JUST ANOTHER WEBSITE!! That's it. If you don't find it interesting, don't read it.

I think websites that obsess about video game cheats are stupid, and a waste of time, but I'm not going to spend half a second getting wound up about it, because obviously someone likes them well enough to write them, and other people like them well enough to visit them, and I just *don't*. I also don't like television programming very much, and as a result, my television only gets turned on for DVD viewing. I don't sit around getting all high-and-mighty about game-cheat users and television watchers though...

And why? Why oh why oh why must we do it? Lessee... political bloggers are, I feel, fulfilling an important role in todays corporate-controlled-media environment. There is no major difference, IMO, between a political blogger and a newspaper opinion columnist. Why oh why must those political pundits do it? Hell, some political bloggers go so far as to actually fill the role of real alternative news media... more power to them.

Other bloggers addressing more personal issues may be doing it as a way of analyzing their own life in light of the world around them, and genuinely coming up with thought-provoking perspectives on the human condition... rare, sure, but it happens. Why oh why oh why must those social satirists use their own lives as fodder for their ponderings?

Or, depending on their location and circumstance in life, a blogger may be actually providing a relatively rare glimpse at another side of major political/social issues... a blog by a homeless person, a convicted criminal, or someone living in the middle of Baghdad may give readers a new, human understanding of a situation they previously understood only through stereotypes.

Hell, a blog by an individual in any far-off place may help open someone's eyes to the idea that we are all fundamentally the same, underneath our cultural trappings of religion, language and whatever else. Communicatng with other people is a human imperative. Blogging is just a new way of doing that.

agreed

Quote:
Blogs are dictatorial -- one person (or group of people) determines what is talked about, and this is further reinforced by the blog format, where comments are always less glorious affairs than the 'stories' or articles they are commenting upon

Yep - thats about it - and thats why I still see it as a soapbox rather than a pub. There are better ways of communicating if thats your bag.

And yes, Mivox, I know it is just another website, but I still don't get what motivates people to stand on that soapbox and shout out loud to the whole world.

I'm not saying its bad, its just that I really don't understand why its so popular.
I am quite happy to debate in forums, but doing it through a blog just seems a bit too much 'look at me' - not having a go at anyone here - just that if 'I' did it, thats what it would end up being.

You blogger chaps probably have as many different laudable motives as there are spam pages in G, but, unlike my hair, they seem to go over my head.

Of course, no need for me to understand - just asking.

 

Quote:
As nice as it is to imagine that a weedy blog is as conversational as a forum, its not. Its flawed. Blogs are dictatorial -- one person (or group of people) determines what is talked about, and this is further reinforced by the blog format, where comments are always less glorious affairs than the 'stories' or articles they are commenting upon.

not always true. case in point: K5 - of course, don't tell the Kuros there that they're posting on a blog. ;)

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