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Blog Epitaphs? Get Me Rewrite! 110

Carl Bialik writes "'Reports of blogging's demise are bosh, but if we're lucky, something else really is going away: the by-turns overheated and uninformed obsession with blogging,' Jason Fry writes on, responding to a recent wave of blog-doubting that includes a Gallup poll and a Chicago Tribune editorial entitled, 'Bloggy, we hardly knew ye.' Fry says blogging might not fly as a business, but 'the failure of blogging to launch a huge number of well-heeled companies or keep attracting VC money won't mean the end of blogs -- instant messaging, for one, hasn't foundered despite the difficulty of turning its popularity into profits.'"
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Blog Epitaphs? Get Me Rewrite!

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  • I've learned this first hand: When my friend John Parsons and I started our baseball blog, Fear and Faith in Flushing, our moods used to soar and crash based on the "referrer summary" of sites that had linked to us. After a while, we noticed something odd: Our traffic kept increasing, even as our referrers held steady or decreased. Then we realized this was a good thing: Readers were coming directly to us instead of through intermediaries. Being part of a blog community is valuable, but it isn't everything.
    • I mean, you didn't even bother to post a link to your blog!
    • Blogs are great for organizational news; we use them at work a lot for staff communication. We have a lot of people that work a wide range of hours, so our blog has replaced having to email everybody in the office to share news. Keeps our inboxes clean(er) and makes it easier to archive and search old messages.

      The problem with blogs is that there are 10 million morons who think that they have something intelligent to share and that their ramblings is a good replacement for actual local, national, and worl

    • Parent comment is a hack job from a previous Fry article here:

      The Accidental Blogger []
      How an Experiment in February
      Became a Nightly Sports Ritual --
      October 31, 2005

  • by biocute ( 936687 ) on Monday February 27, 2006 @04:04PM (#14811154) Homepage
    While some blogs are entertaining to read, the whole exercise requires readers to visit several blogs to get their daily required intake.

    RSS-and-friends is not the answer because the burden is on the readers to seek out interesting logs, what if a blog is interesting one day and crap the other? What if there's another insightful blog pops out of nowhere today?

    I wouldn't bother if I had to read 10 newspapers to get "good" national news in one, international news in another, sports in yet another so on and so forth.

    This is where sites like Slashdot comes in handy, it's essentially a collection of interesting articles.

    So some people have to get together to be the "blogeditors" and actively search for good blog articles every day, and readers have a place to go. It's like a selective RSS service.
    • This is where sites like Slashdot comes in handy, it's essentially a collection of interesting articles.

      Honestly, if you really want to get the "full" news story on any event, I suggest you go to Google News and skim several articles. Blogs and newspapers (and /.)rarely give you all the facts.

      It seems to me that the biggest problem (news) media companies are having with blogging is that it is hard to monetize. The same goes for Google News, it isn't a service that is easily monetized.

      Other than advertising,

    • So some people have to get together to be the "blogeditors" and actively search for good blog articles every day, and readers have a place to go. It's like a selective RSS service.

      There are Livejournal communities that do exactly that. I didn't see much point in LJs (the only people I knew personally who had them used them for such things as keeping the grandparents up to date on the sprogs) until I discovered comms.

    • "I wouldn't bother if I had to read 10 newspapers to get "good" national news in one, international news in another, sports in yet another so on and so forth."

      That's because you'd have to pay for them those newspapers, gather them together and leaf through the interesting bits.

      If you're interested in big mainstream media items, then subscribe to Google News or CNN or whatever as someone suggested. If you're interested in many different niche areas like a lot of us (say web development, Linux news, console
    • RSS-and-friends is not the answer because the burden is on the readers to seek out interesting logs, what if a blog is interesting one day and crap the other? What if there's another insightful blog pops out of nowhere today?

      The solution to this is simple. Let's take the general case of the Internet as a whole. To determine what sites are better than others, we use (through Google) the number of reputable people who thought the site was valuable enough to link to. These reputable people are in turn deter
  • Blogs are like assholes, they are full of shit and everyone has one.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sounds silly to me!
  • If the ONLY Instant Messaging was among bloggers:

    Hi. what u doin?
    workin on my blog
    me 2
    i was jus gonna IM maurice
    maurice sez he's workin on his blog tooo
    whaddya wanna do later???
    gonna download the new Wordpress
    cool. Im gonna write in my blog some more. Mind if I mention in my blog how i was IMing you today? I could even link to YOUR blog.
    That would be sooo kewl!
    kay. c u
    kay bye
  • Guess we need some more stakes. And garlic. Lots of garlic.
  • Every time a new Internet technology comes out that is a "killer app", industry tries to monetize it (it makes sense). See what I think's happening is that they looked at the Web and wanted to be able to do the same with every other technology, like IM and now blogs. These are new mediums in their own unique way. Not every medium can be monetized like the web or VoIP, or others. Some work, some don't. That doesn't mean that another generation of individuals won't eventually come up with a way. Podcast
  • by blueZhift ( 652272 ) on Monday February 27, 2006 @04:14PM (#14811218) Homepage Journal
    Blogs aren't likely to go away anytime soon, only the hype will die down. All of the talk about blogging replacing traditional (ie commercial) journalism and people trying to make money doing it will thankfully go away. Indeed, I would guess that many people will continue to blog and then the next big thing will come along and the hype machines will glom onto that.
    • Call me ignorant. Back in 2002 I was called to a meeting with some pretty important guys in the company I was working on back then as they wanted to have one of the "tech guys" in that meeting too.

      So I sat there and they were talking about that hip new thing called blogs. That was the first time I heard about that phenomenon. The whole time I was trying hard to gasp the concept behind all this but whenever I thought, ok where's the meat, it turned out that in the end they were simply talking about people wr
      • Am I still missing the point or is this just as fundamental trivial as it seems?

        The difference between a web page and a blog is that a blog generally has a built-in temporal component. In other words, a web page is typically an "about" page, whereas a blog is more like a diary where you make regular postings indexed by time and/or subject. Sure, you *could* make a blog using a regular web page, but the point of blogging is that the process is automated and intended to work that way.

        The add in goodies li

      • Well, 1995 is over. Most people can't distribute stuff from their computers nowadays (think about NAT and DHCP) and if they could, they wouldn't know how to do that (they use Windows afterall, it doesn't support that out of the box). So, people spent a lot of time just consuming stuf from the net, not producing.

        The blogs are just 1995 all over again, but easier, so people with any set of knowledge can post. It is a huge step ahead from 2000.

        • Actually, windows does have a decent toolkit for distrubiting stuff from you're computer builtin, assuming that you're using a cheap/free hosting service. Think about it: Notepad and Internet Expolorer is all you really need, that along with a credit card number is all you really need to distribute some content from your personal pc.
          Or if you really wanted to get fancy, with some free software, and some free trickery, you could serve stuff off your average cable/dsl connection. Just apache for windows, a d
      • I don't think it was possible in 1995 to have a system where information from several sources was distributed to a single person so it could be presented in a single "page" view (e.g., RSS, or "friends" pages) - certainly I don't think it was easy to set up, either from the point of view of the author or the reader.

        That's one of the significant differences over webpages - when I set up a homepage 9 years ago, the problem is that people would look at it once, then no longer bother because it's too much hassl
    • I agree the hype will die and the people who think they are going to get paid to write nothing interesting will go away.

      But people are always going to talk about themselves and if you give them an avenue (nay, a superhighway) to push their thoughts through then they will do so. And so what... let 'em babble we don't have to listen.

      As far as monetizing with ads goes, give me a break. It's a little bit like recycling beer bottles. Have you ever taken cases and cases and cases of bottles to the recycling p

  • Blogs have always been overhyped and overrated. Who cares what you had for breakfast, or how someone cut you off in traffic today, or how you want to screw that cute new girl at work, or how your boss sucks?
    • or how you want to screw that cute new girl at work, or how your boss sucks?

      Depends on the circumstances. If the cute new girl at work happens to be your boss then people will certainly care to read all about your adventure.

      • This might very well be one of the funniest comments on slashdot this.. well week. Read it well. Dont tear.
      • I used to think all the postings I read were fake until this happened to me.

        A cute new girl started working as my boss last week. ...
    • Not many. Which is why most successful blogs are more like mini-magazines on specific topics. There are tons of food, auto, tech, and other topical blogs that are increasing readership.

      The "had a pop quiz today" blogs are still in existence, they're all just moving to MySpace.
    • Blogs have always been overhyped and overrated. Who cares what you had for breakfast, or how someone cut you off in traffic today, or how you want to screw that cute new girl at work, or how your boss sucks?

      Seriously, I hate reality TV more than most people, but for some reason they remain popular. Its basically normal people watching normal people and other than the fake drama I don't know what what people see in it.
      • It's "on tv" is what is important about it.

        The actual people are just actors going by a script (anyone who thinks Reality TV isn't scripted needs to have their head examined). The fact that people find it "must see" is partially because they're sheep ready to be told what to think, see, listen, read and do.

        People are different from one another in ways that matter to them. Sadly most people are very indifferent to a lot of things (values, rights, politics, taste, etc).

        This is why McDonalds can sell billion
    • Who cares what you had for breakfast, or how someone cut you off in traffic today, or how you want to screw that cute new girl at work, or how your boss sucks?

      This may be true if you're reading a blog that is written by someone you don't know. It gets bloody boring after a while. However, if you use blogs to let your real-life friends and family know what's up in your life, especially if you don't seem them often, it's a good thing. Hell, if you'd seen these people in person, those are the things you'd p
    • Oh, I don't know. Some people's lives [] are just fun to read about.

      onedotzero []
    • that all blogs are about inane and irrelevant BS. This is not necessarily so. Two of my favorite blogs are written by mathematicians applying mathematics to various real world problems. It's illuminating, given that I've not used the math I got in college decades ago as much as I would have preferred. And another blog I read is written by a group of engineers and a college professor. Again, it contains such a wealth of data and references that it is like having an irregular portable classroom on that topic.

  • by davburns ( 49244 ) <> on Monday February 27, 2006 @04:18PM (#14811254) Homepage Journal
    Lots of people seem to assume that if something is popular, then they (or someone) ought to be making money on it. But it's the exception when that happens, not the rule. Humans have been hanging out and talking with friends for thousands of years. It's wildly popular, yet money needn't change hands for it to happen. Most blogs and IMs are extentions of this. Sometimes someone makes a buck on a banner ad, like a cafe owner makes a buck when friends catch up over coffee, but the bulk of the value is in the social exchange, and the buck is just rent on the venue.
    • Blogs are like anything else; if it's someone who's insight is particularly good, you might pay to read it - or, I dunno, click on ads or something. If it's just some guy, then the blog probably isn't worth that much as a commercial tool.

      Ask any columnist - it's pretty hard to come up with insight on a weekly basis people will pay to listen to. Hell, it's hard enough to get commentary modded up .. or maybe not. :-)
    • Well, from the article summary, I got the impression that people have the idea that something can only be successful when you can make money of it. Which is just as sad an idea.

      BTW, next time you talk to your friends, can you mention me(tm)? I'll pay you 10c per friend ;)

  • by RealProgrammer ( 723725 ) on Monday February 27, 2006 @04:19PM (#14811262) Homepage Journal
    The "blog", or something like it, will be here from now on.

    People for the most part disconnected from their extended family and childhood friends. The Internet makes it possible either to stay connected with them or to find a new set of people with whom to connect, based not on heredity or geography but on common interests. Email and IM don't work for finding new people, only for data exchange with old ones.

    Another feature of the blog is googlability. Say it once, and anyone searching for that thought can stumble into your take on it. That blows away legacy media, as radio and TV blew away whistlestops and soapboxes. Suddenly, it's not the financial power of your boss but the content of your message that's important.

    The ramifications of that are just now being felt.

  • Blogs won't turn into profit directly. But there's indirect revenue in them.

    First of all, the obvious one. Content. Most of all, free content. Whether it's insightful or drivel, some paper will pick it up during slack season and patch together some kind of story around it because "XXX said in his blog".

    Don't believe? You're reading Slashdot, right? :)

    Then there's the not so obvious one. The network between blogs is information, too. Valuable information, actually. People show their interest in some topic, s
  • by olddotter ( 638430 ) on Monday February 27, 2006 @04:19PM (#14811267) Homepage
    I think Google's model of owning and then making an easy tie in for adsense allows them to fund hardware and sometimes pay bloggers to use the service. So I don't expect to go away even if VC's aren't interested in funding competing sites.

    Social:What I like about non-commercial blogs is that it reminds me of the really early days of the world wide web, where almost all pages were a person's personal site talking about their life and interests. Bloggs tend to be personal, and I like and value that aspect of them.

  • Oh, man, I gotta go blog [] about [] this [] right now!!!
  • Thank goodness
  • Nothing overheated and uninformed *EVER* goes away.
  • Like reality TV, blogs are cheap to produce, so they probably won't ever disappear, regardless how low the quality of the average example.

    Personally I'm sick and tired of reading about blogs. I don't read any on a regular basis, as I haven't come across any that warrant my continued attention, although sometimes I find an interesting entry on a particular subject, and revisit that blog a few times. However I seem to read ten times as many articles about blogging (usually by bloggers) on sites such as this,
  • Gosh, let's be clear - I am ready to read some really clever fellas blogs, I am ready to read how Radiohead records their new LP, I check out Linux/Free desktop devel blogs every day. And NONE of them uses any kind of ads. Because if you want to do blogging only for some kind of regular income, then there is clearly something wrong with you (hint: lack of common sense).

    It was never ment to work, because stuff worth to read is already posted, for free. From guys who never intended to get money from it.
    • Tell that to Weblogs, Inc., a profitable company with multiple millions in revenue. Not to mention they recently sold to AOL for somewhere in the neighborhood of $25 million.
      • Sorry but their annual revenue was something roughly on the order of 1 Million per year ~ not multiple millions. Furthermore they got their by screwing their writers and paying them $300 per month. Weblogs inc was able to command a high multiple of annual earnings because of first mover advantage. From Wikipedia,

        Weblogs, Inc. was (and is) considered the largest-scaled attempt at enterprise blogging. The network sells an inventory of display advertising space supplemented by Google AdSense. Revenue from AdSe

  • is the Internet equivalent of self-important navel-gazing.

    That said, the media loves to use the rise, fall, return template for many stories.

    They'll do a bunch of stories about the great new thing (Java, microbreweries, politician running for president, whatever) then stories about their demise, and then stories about "hey we said they were dead but they're still around."
    • ... is the Internet equivalent of self-important navel-gazing.

      When writers write about writing, or cartoonists draw comics about cartooning, why does nobody self-righteously and smugly bash it as "self-important navel-gazing"? What gives with blogs, or is it just "trendy" to bash blogging?

  • ...the other day that the only blogs I read are meta-blogs about blogging.

    Is there any audience for blogs at all? Or are 99% of all bloggers shouting into the void?
    • I don't know anyone that actually reads blogs, but many of my friends have them. I think people have blogs for the same reasons people have journals/diaries. Its not because someone may read them in the future, but that it gives someone an outlet for thoughts and emotions.

      Blogs aren't meant to be a source of income or even fame. They should probably be compared to the captain's logs of yesteryear. Those were a published log of a journey, but were more than that. They showed a captains inner thoughts, emoti

  • Why does everything have to be profitable? Are we not yet in an era where tools are justified by their usefulness to mankind, not how much wealthier they can make an already wealthy man?

    Wake me up in another 50 years, if there's still anything here worth hanging around for.. zzz
  • Find the real reason here []!
  • You could have a wiki epitaph! Oh, that's not what you meant... - Andrew
  • So Barry Ritholtz is a blogger and hedge-fund manager who says blogs are fatal for an investment trend.

    Blogs are small business so of course there's less potential for investors because blogs can have very low overhead and generate revenue immediately without requiring investment. This doesn't mean that blogs are on there way out.
  • The article summary was unreadable. Is there an actual thought captured in there?
  • Look at just about* every "killer app" generated by the internet, and they all have the same characteristic: Nobody found a way to make killer money off of it.

    Email, Instant Messaging, Blogging.

    The fact is - if someone figured out a way to make money off of these killer apps, people would stop using them.

    *(one exception - porn)
    • Look at just about* every "killer app" generated by the internet, and they all have the same characteristic: Nobody found a way to make killer money off of it...

      *(one exception - porn)

      Sounds like Avenue Q [] got it right: "In volatile market, only stable investment... is porn!"

  • What do you mean everything isn't about money? Who'da thunk it?
  • ... really. I was so used to just posting unusual URL, stories and such that for S&G when I deceided to do a family site makeover I just converted it to a blog. At first I was thinking I'd only use the blog format to keep it easy to update... and often. But as most addicts I'e been scouring random news stories. And I've actually had a couple positive comments, which has been nice. How a blog I laughingly called Living in the Whine Country [] ended up talking more about Tech and such... well it works f

  • I know, they are weblogs or whatever, but who even termed these things into gimmicky little catchphrases. I remember back when I first heard the word I thought I had been left behind on the technology train, then I found out what it meant and I discovered I already had two. "Blogs" started out as just online diaries with random content, content often so random, in fact, that it wasn't worth saving in any other form (at least I find that to be the case personally). How do you expect something that is basi
  • I have to speak up here, blogs may be dying but that may be a good thing in that I personally tire of stupid technorati space tags like:
    ("I ate beets for lunch...lolz")
    Uhm no i want information on space people. heh
    I mean blogs were supposed to take over the world right? Well, some blogs are really good, but they are few and far between. I say if a group (like one im in) can hold a *real* irc room together on freenode and post blog entries about space at our leisure we are richer (not rich as in money
  • They just do. You can argue the case for keeping diaries, you know..traditional diaries as a means of self reflection, but "bloggers" are the saddest creatures on earth. Nobody wants to know what your dog ate for dinner, crackhead. Get a life already.

    But I guess it's a good way to keep the not-so-intelligent people busy at home and not, for instance, committing armed robbery at the local grocery store.
  • Because as we all know, if it doesn't get venture capital, it's not worthwhile.

  • I think what we'll see is what we witnessed after every boy and their dog figured out how to create a HTML page complete with flashing text, awful animated GIFs and background MIDI music. As many have pointed out, nobody cares what Mrs. Rita Boddingworth of 42 Jackass Lane, Nowhereville did between the hours of 6pm and 10pm the night of February 17th or any other night, and so as the reality of this sets into the frenzied benign bloggers and they realize that their time might be well worth spent doing some
  • I took my updates page and turned it into a blog a year ago. I decided to write about specific things that weren't being discussed out there (Using humor and positive attitude to stave off depression, control ADHD, etc.) It's been hard getting noticed in all the din and roar but after a year I am seeing regular readers. It's rewarding, emotionally and intellectually, and the ads I feature bring in a bit of cash. But if I was doing this for money alone I would have quit months ago. $25 a month isn't a caree
  • Japanese versus US blogs [] on Mutant Frog, a rather well-written but not too frequently visited, it seems, corner of the internet.

    I suppose, if I were a proper blogger, I would have instead posted a link to my own web site where I wrote a short article that pointed to the one above...

  • Blogs aren't going away. We all know it. Let's skip that point.

    The idealistic notion that blogs would change the world in fundamental ways is going away. Right on schedule, too.

    We've had enough pretentious books and conferences, enough heavily funded bad business models, enough fads, and enough hipster popularity contests. The only people who are going to suffer are those who have had too much invested (emotionally, financially, whatever) in that idealism: People who started blogs just to be cool or se
  • For so long now we've been hearing about the demise of traditional media -- especially newspapers and print, as their numbers have fallen right into the toilet. Constantly we hear from the media that the "blogs" and "internet" are to blame.

    Then, for a while we heard a lot of reports from the media that came from blogs... rathergate and other headlines come to mind.

    Obviously, the traditional media felt threatened by all these "blogs", because they no longer had the edge in the information game.

    Then, the WSJ
  • by jo42 ( 227475 )
    Sorry, the word "Blog" always sounds to me like something you leave in the toilet bowl after a very large meal...

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.