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Blogging Dead, or, The Message Becomes Just Another Medium, or, Being Beaten to Death by Croutons

The News in the Hill Country - Fredericksburg Standard

Feeling like I have to expand an idea out into some 3000-word treatise just adds a weight which suddenly turns the whole thing into another fucking task I have to add to the pile and then explain to my poor girlfriend why I’m spending another evening fiddling with my website rather than fiddling with her. JK

Hey! What better way to start a post about blogging than with a classic, yellow-blogging headline?

Time Tested Blogging Research Methodology: Anecdotes

Blogging is not really dead – you’re reading this after all. Rather, it seems to have moved beyond the Jackhammer of Disillusionment into The Heartland of Dry Counties.

Every week – sometimes daily – I come across another declaration of “hey, I’m not really blogging (much) any more:”

To my mind, this ads up to people having less fun producing and consuming blogs.

Lean Blogging

In truth, what I see happening more is a shortening of the form. Rather than using blogs as a medium for publishing articles, people are more interested in writing up short notes. This is beneficial for mass-blog readers like myself: shorter content is easier to consume.

Keeping your content short and yet useful is difficult. Interestingly, the idea of “hyper-text,” the foundational philosophy of the web, if you will, should make this easier by having all sorts of “click here for more detail” links. But, that never really caught on. When not relaxing – that is, working – people want a beginning, middle, and an end.

This is one reason why Twitter is so popular. Much of what you need to know (feel free to go Pareto Crazy, here if you need numbers instead of anecdote-clains) can be reduced to a headline with a link to read more. Yeah: Twitter.

Little Johnny Has a Blog

As the Stackoverflow boys point out, what’s also happening here is that blogging as a medium has gotten sanded down into normalcy. Everyone does it as just another way to publish. You can hear the word “blogger” dozens of times on Sunday morning political talk shows.

We’re getting that point Bruce Sterling pointed out last year and mentions frequently:

“There are 55 million blogs and some of them have got to be good,” Sterling said, during a speech here at the SXSW conference in reference to the slogan on blog search site “Well, no, actually. They don’t.”

“I don’t think there will be that many of them around in 10 years. I think they are a passing thing.”

That’s overly cynical, but it gets to the point. Blogging is pretty much just a medium now. Don’t take that the wrong way: it doesn’t mean that any effect the idea of blogging has had has gone away, it means the message part that it brought is now “normal.” Like newspapers – no one obsesses about the newspaper (or printed books, even) as a medium for communication: it’s just the news and people thinking in print.

Categories: Blogs, The Analyst Life, The New Thing.

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One Response

  1. I've always used my blog as just another content management system, with the slightly different spin that blog posts are supposed to be a little more personal and a little more informal than, say, a press release.

    I once found out that a CEO was having his blog posts ghost written by his marketing director and it kind of pissed me off.

    I don't post all that much, but I do try to put a lot of time into the posts I do create.

    I think the more common use of blogs is along the lines of "link blogs" – short posts that reference some other article, usually with comments. Two of my favorites are Enrevanche ( and the Big Contrarian (

    These days all of my information tends to come from RSS feeds – be it a traditional website like or a blog.

    I think the "hype cycle" for blogs is over (we've probably moved on to "tweets") but that the medium is around to stay. It's just too darn easy to set one up.