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The end of blogging?

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 18th July 2008

Catchy title for my first post on the new Wildfire blog!

This week we discovered that Jason Calacanis, (he of Mahalo fame) through a typically over-the-top declaration, has decided to stop blogging and instead move his thoughts/rants/opinions to a subscriber-only email mailing list. As the man himself states:

Starting today all of my thoughts will be reserved for a new medium. Something smaller, something more intimate, and something very personal.

Predictably, this has garnered a fair degree of interest, skepticism and bewilderment from the blogosphere and of course there has been the predictable allegation of ‘PR stunt‘ banded around for good measure.

Calacanis lives on – all his email messages can be read online and you can even subscribe to his email mailing list. In his first email, he crystallises his thinking:

…while blogging is clearly booming, there has been a deep qualitative change in the nature of the ’sphere. There are so many folks involved in blogging to today, and it’s moving at a much quicker pace thanks to “social accelerants” like TechMeme, digg, Friendfeed and Twitter. Folks are so desperate to be heard–and we all want to be heard that’s why we blog–that the effort put into being heard has eclipsed the actual hearing. Bloggers spend more time digging, tweeting, and SEOing their posts than they do on the posts themselves.

So is blogging dead? Has increased interest from ‘the masses’ turned blogging into yet another commercial marketing tool? There is perhaps an element of truth here and it is certainly dangerous when the promotion becomes more important than the content (this doesn’t only apply to blogs!).

BUT, there is no doubt that blogging still has a very important role to play. It can still add value. And that is the key point here.

Of course there is more out there than ever before, and the quality certainly varies from place to place. But I still learn more from the blog posts I read everyday than I do in a month of reading newspapers, watching TV or even surfing the web.

RSS allows you to pick, choose and customise content that works for you, using the wisdom of those you choose to ‘follow’ to direct and educate. In addition, blogging gives you a unique opportunity to start and participate in meaningful, ongoing conversations. Social media has made this easier than ever and micro-blogging continues to further the trend.

I’ve subscribed to Calacanis’ email list (mainly out of inquisitiveness). Will I keep reading it? Probably. As long as the content stays interesting and ‘valuable’, but it still doesn’t feel quite right.

My email inbox is dominated by the daily business processes that need to be dealt with, (alongside the obligatory newsletters and marketing collateral) that I wonder if I will have the time or inclination in that environment to stop and read a long blog-like scribe.

Time will tell, but I certainly won’t be turning my back on blogs and blogging just yet.

Picture credit

Danny Whatmough