There is no honey sweeter, no creek water cooler, no child's laughter more precious than what happens when bloggers write about blogging. Walk with me through these thoughts from Andy Crouch, would you?
Back when the mainstream media spent little time covering the craft beer segment, one only had to keep up with individual beer blogs. While that seemed like a chore, and in the days before Google Reader, beer tech saint Jonathan Surratt put together the excellent but now-defunct Real Simple Beer Syndication. I still miss RSBS because it didn’t allow me to filter which blogs I reviewed. They were all there for the perusing. While I once at least scanned the headlines for hundreds upon hundreds of beer blogs, I now self-select and only take a look at about 20 beer blogs.
Andy's point is that there are fewer bloggers and other media and, in particular, aggregation has killed off blogs. Really? I think blogs are just a subset of beer writing and as far as I can tell, there is plenty of blabbing out there going on about beer. Yet, eight and a a half years ago, I asked what it was that would lead to the death of blogs in some far off future point in time. And, interestingly maybe just a little, I tagged spam and aggregation and boredom and the future killer app as being the time warp culprits. Was I right? Let's think about those four causes for a mo.
4. FKA. Last first. The future killer app. I think Twitter has actually sucked a lot of blogging action out of blogging and, frankly, that is fine. People should have an easy entry. I think that "social media" is twelve steps below "blogging" as a stunned term but Twitter serves that "wish you were here" post card function in the way that blogs are more like letter writing. Interestingly, Facebook has really not imposed itself on beer thought. But between texting, tweeting and other low entry point internet based writing, there is plenty going on.
3. Boredom. I think this has kicked in more. I do not write as much as I once did on my old catch all blog, Gen X at 40. I decided to frame my writing more around beer even if I still write over at the senior service site about once a week. Writing regularly takes more than interest and more than talent. It takes some time as well as the ability to pump out text maniacally. I write like a madman on fire at work most days and have a butterfly mind. If you don't have that trait (which has zero to do with passion) you are likely to get bored with blogging. Go tweet.
2. Aggregation. This is the killer app that actually killed. Provides readers brought to you via the reader but also a mechanism that diverts readership. Sounds good, right? I am coming up on 18,000 readers on Google Reader. But I am down to 400 direct readers a day. It is depressing to see stats drop. It's the loss of the direct touch. The combination of the perceived slump with alienation of writer from reader makes it worse. Add someone selling ads on the aggregator that you used to sell? Drag. Feel bad? Tell someone by text.
1. Spam. Spam? That was solved. Gmail solved it. Captcha and other "prove you are human" tools solved it. Spam was on a high in 2005 when you could track the poor saps doing it manually. When was the last time you really heard someone complain about spam? That war was won.
So. Metablogging. What is not to love? Point? It is good to track patterns and changes in these sorts of ephemeral things. 2012 is very different landscape from 2009 and each and a world away from 2004. But it is still active out there and context remains king. You want to blog? Go blog. The landscape is actually a bit less packed right now and it is a seller's market. Get it on.