Never too late to start blogging

Let me start with a rhetorical question: Is blogging past its prime?

I get asked this question a lot since I have been doing it for, what now, 5+ years. So I have to go back and often conduct the 15-point check-up much like the way my car dealership does when I take the old (5-year old vehicle) in for service.

I thought about this again when reading Steve Rubel’s interview, as he was asked by Tech Crunch why he’s stopped blogging and begun ‘lifestreaming.’

Steve, as always makes a great point about where content, and content creators are headed. To him blogging has got long in the tooth, and fallen out of grace now that Twitter and Facebook have become more interesting ways to communicate.

So back to my question, is blogging past its prime, and should someone who has never done it even consider it now. I have two ways to look at this:

1. Telling stories. No matter what format you use, telling your story, has never gone out of style. Think about what some consider one of the most passe formats today, the printed newsletter. I see it doing very well in places as different as Trader Joe’s, churches, and the offices of financial advisers. They sure look long in the tooth to me, especially if I am not the target reader. But they do have plenty of cool content.

2. Providing context. Blogs have an uncanny way of connecting the dots, and putting things in context. Faced with the breathless pace of tweets that appear and vanish (unless you’re monitoring your Tweetdeck or Twitterrific all the time), a blog post is always there, and gives you an opportunity to frames things better, and analyze it from multiple perspectives. The best part, it lets others add their insight as well.

I’ve heard many say that Facebook is becoming the defacto hub of all other social media properties and actions. Hard to contest with that.


Facebook only lets you do so  much when it comes to writing good content. But blog posts can be used to connect the dots, and build on a body of work that is easy to find, link to, and create conversations around.

If you want to see what some other have said on this topic, here are two excellent posts:

Quotes for the week ending 12 Jan, 2008

“information overload makes it difficult for anyone to separate essential air from smog.”

Steve Rubel, on the value of curators who distill information for others.

“I’m past the age when I can claim the noun ‘kid,’ no matter what adjective precedes it. But tonight…

John McCain, addressing a New Hampshire crowd on Tuesday, on his comeback.

“But to have access to the electoral marketplace, he has to pass the Halle Berry test.”

Bob Garfield, ad critic in Advertising Age, on Barack Obama’s ‘acceptably black’ marketability.

“Social media does not mean shameless social mountaineering, and I can bet you are not going to make yourself very popular as a communicator by sending out stuff like this.”

A member of Melcrum’s Communicators Network, annoyed at the spam-like New Year’s greeting sent by another member to hundreds of others.

“Marketing is low-hanging fruit for politicians.”

Alam Khan advising mobile marketers about the need for self-regulation, to avoid political intervention.

“Email blows away all other social networks.”

Max Kalehoff, on Online Media Spin, on why plain vanilla email is still king of the hill.

“We are always cultivating our media, who are not just our vehicles but in fact they are our primary audiences.”

Madhavi Mukherjee, at India PR Blog, on the ‘stalagmite theory‘ of how PR cultivates its audience over time.

“It takes an industry to raise a child”

Paraphrase of Intel’s response with regard to pulling out of Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child project, and launching it’s own rival People’s PC.

Wikipedia better watch its back

No matter what you say about Wikipedia in terms of the accuracy of information or the rules of editing, it created a great appetite and destination for knowledge sharing. But it did not have much of competition. Until now.

knol.jpgGoogle is after its lunch. “Our goal is to encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it,” says the new invitation-only wiki project called “knol.”

But it doesn’t appear to be after the exact model of Wikipedia. The key differences being:

1. Authorship over anonymity: Knol will give prominence to authors -as opposed to the anonymity of Wikipedia authors who only recently could be tracked down by their IP addresses.

2. Censorship: It won’t be in the business of attempting to “bless any content.”

3. Financial incentive: Authors could make money if they choose to allow ads alongside content.

I see the first two options as definite Wikipedia killers, apart from the others that Steve Rubel outlines. The third is troubling, because this would invite all types of content creators who won’t have a problem identifying themselves, but could provide infomercial-quality content, and get paid to do it. Tech Crunch‘s Duncan Riley notes this also means a shift from indexing content to becoming the content provider.

Quotes of the week 09/29/07

“The Internet has so much more potential than that, if only we free ourselves from the idea that it is just another medium for messages, like television, radio and print.”

Tim Manners, in Fast Company. “Socialized Media:” On the problem of marketers attempting to create a medium out of every conceivable space.

“By digitising the whole collection, we give access to the books without the filter of later judgments, whether based on taste or on the economics of printing and publishing”

Dr. Jensen of the British Library, on the news that they will digitise100,000 books from the 19th Century, and one million pages of 18th Century newspapers. These will be text searchable.

“Increasingly social networks are becoming a theater of operations for PR. So we need ways to track our interactions over time.”

Steve Rubel, on using a Gmail account as a social media hub.

“You’ve got people on cell phones, their Blackberries, and iPods while driving. Those are all distractions. Hopefully, when they see a sign they’re not expecting, it might make them stop.”

Mayor of Oak Lawn, Illinois, on putting up double-octagonal stop signs, with the bottom one displaying messages such as “Stop…and smell the roses.”

“There is no better way to keep embarrassing secrets under wraps than to chill those who expose them.”

Editorial in Arizona Republic on the need for AZ Senator Jon Kyl to support the Schumer-Specter bill that going before the US Senate that could protect journalists.

“They don’t want the world to see what is going on there.”

White House spokesman, Scott Stanzel, commenting on Myanmar cutting off Internet access, and hence, news filtering out of the country.

“It’s not a Mona Lisa painting, it’s a car”

US District Court judge, Richard Berman on a ruling that requires New York City cab drivers to install GPS and credit card reader technology in the vehicles. Drivers protested that it would amount to giving away trade secrets.