In his piece in Wired, Paul Boutin says:
Writing a weblog today isn’t the bright idea it was four years ago. The blogosphere, once a freshwater oasis of folksy self-expression and clever thought, has been flooded by a tsunami of paid bilge. Cut-rate journalists and underground marketing campaigns now drown out the authentic voices of amateur wordsmiths. It’s almost impossible to get noticed, except by hecklers. And why bother? The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.
And he’s right about the professionalization of amateur media, but that was an inevitable trend of where this was going to go anyway. So who are we kidding?
As for feeling more comfortable on platforms like Twitter or Flickr or Facebook, I’m not buying. People who are seeking to learn more about you might want to waste countless hours trolling the interwebs to see who your other friends are, to look at your pictures and otherwise Googlestalk you to get a better snapshot of who you are. But blogging? There’s the definitive way to really get into someone’s head. It takes discipline and to develop a following, you need to do more than just exist, but actually draw people in.
That takes work. I’ve been blogging for longer than it’s been called that, but the thing that’s changed were the reasons I felt compelled to do it. When I was younger, it was solely about expressing myself and capturing an audience of people who I knew well and who knew me both online and in real life.
In the past, it was almost entirely about expression. Now? It’s about communicating, networking and branching out in more organized ways. I think the democratization of media has open doors to giving voices to people who previously were never heard and all mainstreaming of online media does is provide more people with the idea that they could do it too.
To me, that’s not a bad thing. The tools to do it are easier than they were years ago, most are free and with broadband access more prevalent, it seems like the perfect time to get out there, not to shut down the doors.