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Feb 06, 2006

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Roch101

When Hummel initially contacted me, she told me she was doing a story on the decline of blogging. That seemed odd (and gave the bloggers at the last meetup a good chuckle) but I thought that perhaps, after an examination of the facts she might come to a different conclusion; after all, real reporters are so much more objective and accurate than opinionated bloggers.

What's strange is that Hummel asked the right questions, the answers, as happened with Ed, just didn't make it into her article. For example, I stipulated that David Wharton had indeed announced a hiatus (now having posted two thoughtful articles since doing so) but I also brought to Hummels' attention a number of good, new bloggers who have come on the scene in the past few months. Cara Michele, Matt Hill, Brenda Bowers, Nandi-Amaris Daniels, Joe Killian and Floyd Stuart. I don't know if they were contacted, but I think they didn't make it into Hummel's story because, as new bloggers, they didn't fit Hummel's predetermined take on things. 

Hummel's article is crafty though. It presents sourced facts, then puts a different slant on the story with un-sourced material. For example, while she notes that the number of blogs listed on Greensboro101 continues to grow, she writes that "many blogs won't make it for the long haul" and attribute this conclusion to unnamed "experts."

She also has those same "experts" concluding that the lack of money means that many blogs won't make it. Yet, she offers no evidence, not even anecdotal, that bloggers stop blogging because of a lack of money. Like Ed, I too offered my opinion that money is not why most bloggers blog and told her that the ad network is to help bloggers earn some revenue for something they are doing anyway -- noting that people were blogging before there were revenue opportunities and that many continue to blog without any ads on their blogs.

Obviously, I have an interest in seeing the blog scene grow and continue to get better. I'd be an idiot not to want to know if blogging were in decline. Hummel's article doesn't convince me. If Hummel had wanted to tell a story about a medium where people come and go, but the coming outweighs the going, she might have been justified. That's not what we got though.

Lenslinger

A constant blogger myself, I wasn't aware the movement had abated until Hogg mentioned he'd been interviewed by Hummel. The gleeful headline and rather empty article hasn't convinced me of local blogging's demise, but since my own medium rarely acknowledges its existence, I won't sling too many arrows.

I think a better article would be on the fluctuating but vibrant nature of local citizen media, minus the sweeping prognosis. As anyone who push button publishes will tell you, logs are easy to start, hard to maintain. If you're doing it to make money, you'd be better off rattling a cup full of stubby pencils on South Elm Street.

Roch and Ed both make powerful points that deserve a follow-up in themselves. Could it be that the Hummel Hoopla is delayed reaction to the loss of "A Little Urbanity"?

Nice work, Wharton.

diane davis

I was disappointed that there was no mention of LOCAL political blogging. There was much more good information about the recent City Council election on the blogs than there was in the printed version of the N&R or other printed and broadcast media in Greensboro.
Council member Sandy Carmany gives blog readers (including, I suspect the News Record) lots of information that is not readily available at any other "one stop news source".
I expect that the blogs will give us reliable information on the upcoming Guilford County elections and NC State elections.
Thank you Ed and all the other bloggers who know how to get and publish information and take feedback from all.
Bloggsboro is alive and well.

jw

Yeah, but this --> http://www.home.earthlink.net/~lex.alexander/lexblog.htm
bolsters her argument.

Ed Cone

I'm not sure that Lex quitting his blog bolsters the argument, or rather, I don't think it's the right argument. Blogs will come and go. They are not traditional media, they operate at the discretion of individuals.

Lex is hip-deep in online culture at work, btw -- the N&R blogs remain a hugely important part of the local story, as I mentioned to Marta, but they did not figure in her article.

Interesting that Lex chose to kill his archives.

Jerry Bledsoe

Roch,
I think more people would read local blogs if Greensboro 101 wasn't so hard to reach. I have broadband but it's usually a minute or more before I can call it up. I waited more than three minutes before giving up over the weekend. It's the only site I have trouble with. Don't mean to change the subject. Just wondering what the problem is?

jw

I agree with you Ed that blogs come and go, but DAMN, when a couple of the local best go, it makes you wonder. You're not going anywhere, are you Ed?

Ed Cone

It's quality not quantity of blogs that matters. As Wharton says in the article, writing a good one is hard. Thus there is going to be turnover in the good blogs, and those are the ones we'll notice when they go.

Every time I've had a lull in blogging energy, I've just let it happen and then something comes along and I'm busy at it again. I've blogged less recently because I've been too busy doing other stuff at work and in my personal life, but now I'm semi-caught up, so I'll post more frequently when I have something to say. It's a struggle but to me it's worth it. I might put my blog on hiatus if I need that mental energy for a sustained project (eg writing a book) but for now I have no plans to quit or slow down.

Another thing the Hummel story missed was the evolution of blogs. I think the minipundit days are waning, or at least the definition of blogging as me-too political argument sites. The interesting and useful ones will be the ones with specific expertise -- and those will often appeal to micro audiences, not function as big media analogs at all.

Beth

I get the sense Marta has perhaps a prejudice against bloggers? Maybe not, just seemed as though the tone implied it.

Ed Cone

I don't think it's prejudice against bloggers -- again, the headline is a big part of the problem, and writers don't usually write those -- but I do think there is a perspective issue. The context is pretty much blogs as analogs for professional media, in terms of consistency, longevity, profitability, and audience size -- and it's simply not the most useful lens through which to view things.

Cara Michele

Marta's article prompted me to take down my ads and just do the "donate and sponsor" links. My blog's purpose is awareness and service, and the ads (though flashy and shiny and pretty) didn't jibe with the message. So that's at least one public service that was provided. ;)

Ed Cone

My ads cover the cost of the blog (excluding labor) and I give the rest of my ad income away to blog-related things (e.g. individual bloggers, conferences). Mostly I run ads to participate in the development of that part of the medium...but I struggle with it, and am often on the verge of yanking them.

beth

Let's not forget that ads can be beneficial for our readers. Say I write on the O'henry hotel here in Greensboro. Google serves an ad that O'henry has chosen to advertise on my site. (they currently do.) The customer gets exactly the information they they are looking for, and I make a few pennies for the ad that links to their site. I don't think you should blog just for money, but whats the harm if you make some, and can still be a community service?

David Boyd

Know what all this reminds me of? All this wondering about the state of blogging? No? I'll tell you.

Local blogging is the same as local bands (except for the groupies). You get all these different folks creating something and then comparing it and wondering how they fit into the scene and how this local scene is better than someone else's local scene and sometimes someone local becomes national. Follow me? Think of it this way - Ed is Bus Stop.

Cara Michele

No harm, Beth. Ads on other people's blogs don't bother me. It just didn't seem appropriate on mine because of what I write about. But I'm still (quite happily) displaying banner links to Compassion International and Salvation Army (and I'll probably add others) and you can click on them and donate or learn more. And that fits with the tone and purpose of my blog, just as paid ads fit well with the tone and purpose of lots of other folks' blogs. And sometimes I click on them! ;)

Roch101

Jerry,

About the slow performance of Greensboro101 this weekend. Because the site collects excerpts from individual blogs, it relies on those blogs being accessible. Not to get too technical, but content is cached at Greensboro101 for up to an hour. After that, Greensboro101 attempts to contact the individual blogs to see if there are any new posts and refreshes the cached data. It will attempt to try to read a blog's feed for a while (I think it's thirty seconds) and if there is no reply, will move on to the next blog that has cached content older than one hour.) Usually this works just fine as even a large number of blogs can be refreshed in seconds -- when they are accessible.

This weekend, Blogger, one of the most popular blogging platforms, was having some serious problems. (You may have noticed that you couldn't even get to Blogger hosted blogs directly). This resulted in a large number of feeds aging out, never getting refreshed and Greensboro101 attempting to get a feed for each one (to no avail) each time the feeds were requested.

I probably should have a fallback routine where Greensboro101 stops attempting to get the latest feeds when there is such a problem. But, I don't. Yet.

Gate

We are unconcerned with article. Just blog for you and have fun. That is true alt media.

Roch101

Also, of the three examples Hummel offers of bloggers who have wandered off, Wharton, as noted, can't quite quit and the author of Michael's Corner started a new blog under a pseudonym.

Laurie

It does seem odd to me, that with the many different types of blogs on the local scene now, the emphasis always seems to be on the stereotypical blog - not the humor, art, poetry, photo, food, or community organization blog (although there was some attention to food blogs about a year ago). Not all of us attempt to be news journalists, or money-makers, yet I'd say that we contribute a lot to the local scene. But the newspaper seldom mentions these except for an occasional, sometimes condescending aside about personal journals.

Jerry Bledsoe

Thanks, Roch. I'll try to be more patient but it gets harder as you get older and your time gets shorter.

michael

This article is like the big music industry saying independent music is dead, while big music just has different aspirations and can't understand indie's motivations. The author can't seem to fathom that people do it for reasons other than making money.

Billy The Blogging Poet

You know what bothered me the most about the article (besides not being called, contacted, mentioned, etc., I am the organizer of Blogsboro's MeetUp group and host Blogsboro.com, you know.) is the fact that there really wasn't anything there to chew on, no meat, as if the writer really didn't want to write the article.


Or maybe that's just me being my typical jaded self, I donno?


PS. Our MeetUp group is pushing 90 members now and a lot of things are going on behind the scenes that will continue to make Blogsboro a trendsetter world-wide.

Lex

Ed -- meant to respond to this earlier and forgot. I took down the archives for the same reason someone who quits smoking tosses out his cigarettes: Otherwise, they're a constant temptation. I've retained copies and might repost them sometime once I've figured out what lies beneath the stack of books on my night table.

Kim

I read a lot of local Greensboro blogs and I even blog myself, although I've noticed that most of my readership seems to come from outside of the Triad, possibly because my blog is more of a personal diary. Anyway, I enjoy blogging, and I don't think it's declining at all. I'd be interested in getting more involved with the local Greensboro bloggers, but I'm not sure just how to go about that.

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