The problem with blogging Is that it needs work.
Just when it was becoming useful as a form of thinking out loud, of carrying out conversations with others through posts, across blogs, in comments, etc. it became a tool to convert -- so posts tightened, people stopped linking to content other than their own or for the opportunistic wink, and advice hit the recycle circuits.
Two posts caught my eye in the last couple of hours that detailed ground well covered by at least a couple dozen people and probably four to five years ago. Indeed, it is always September on the Web.
It's November for me, though.
And I'm guessing the reason why so many have slowed down or stopped altogether is that the promotional nature and volume of what gets the "hits" today is not sustainable for someone with a day job that includes all kinds of writing and other work.
No, when you get home, you want to open a beer, pour a glass of wine (make mine red), maybe turn on the TV, or read a good book, listen to music, and "be" for a change.
Maybe this is confirmation bias, and the evidence I have is anecdotal, I cannot hep but assert that blogging is too much work under the new construct of frictionless sharing and copying/scraping.
It is work.
Showing up again and again to engage with ideas and examples in the hope they will be useful to someone, that maybe you offered a new resource, made a connection someone had not thought about, verbalized an issue that was percolating and helped bring it into focus.
The "polished" and overproduced nature of what we formerly called blogging is ironically why we need bloggers to come back to this form.
Open conversation is important.
Two gentlemen continue to teach me a great deal about open conversation on the Web.
Open Letter on Patents from the year 2000
In this post I rediscovered thanks to Doc Searls reposting it, you can find a run through of how the terminology used to describe business reflects where we are in the evolution of thought and culture (bold emphasis mine).
We use information, literally, to form each other. So, if we are in the market for information, we are asking to be formed by other people. In other words, we are authors of each other. It follows that the best information is the kind that changes us most. If we want to know something — if we are in the market for knowledge — we demand to be changed.
That change is growth. Our identity persists, yet who-we-are becomes larger, because we know more. And the more we know, the more valuable we become. This value isn’t a “brand” (a nasty word that comes to us from the cattle industry). It’s reputation.
More than 10 years later and we still don't know how to look for clues. Or maybe we don't want to.
How to Help the Open Web
It would be too easy to just say "get a clue", tempting as it may be some days. In this thread I've been following along, Dave Winer gives some pointers, which include the need for blogs to be evolved.
I can say in all honesty that I was never one to wait for a press release to write what I was thinking about. I still find it extremely easy to ignore most of them for various reasons.
4. Also do the thing that the "big boys" do so well -- reference each other. If I write something that you find interesting, write a blog post about it, and link to my post.
I do that, always have because it's important to show the path, of how, in Doc's parlance, we are authors of each other. I even wrote a post about how to credit content. Felt a little silly in doing that, and then saw how so many found it helpful.
The problem with blogging is that we have accepted it should look and read only in a certain way. I realized in reading the two posts by Searls and Winer this past week, that the reason why I was able to stick with it is precisely because I continued to consider it a forum where to be open and candid.
7. Share your ideas and observations. Start new threads that aren't responsive to anyone else. If you have an epiphany or see something you don't think anyone else has seen -- that's a blog post. Write it up!
Says Winer. That is indeed useful advice.
BTW -- it's up to you to join the conversation, start developing a rapport with bloggers. I know who my "go to" people are around the Web, in the networks where I participate. They do drive the conversation, what I think about, how I share by engaging. So it works both ways.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.