The NYTimes had an interesting article this Sunday about blogging: If Your Blog Falls in the Forest
According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled.
Wow, 95% of blogs are abandoned. But that bears out with my experience of the format. [Aside: Twitter is not a blog, and microblogging is a really dumb term that does not describe tweeting at all.] Two of my three best tech friends, guys that I learned this stuff from, have blogs that would fall into the 95% abandonment rate. It’s not that they aren’t participating, in fact they are certainly much more active than they were 3 years ago, but their blogs are no longer a central rally point for their voices online.
TR has been one of my poetry as code guides since I met him back in 2004. He and my other coder buddy RB introduced me to the concept of WEB 2.o. This is back when it was a techy term and not the over-hyped buzzword of social media/facebook/twitter is has become. [Web 2.0 Aside: When writers and the media are starting to outline what Web 3.o is I want to laugh, but like it or not, that term will come to maturity over the next year. I won’t call it that, EVER, but a lot of folks will.]
So it’s not like TR has not been working the web. But his blog, the still point where I could consistently check in on his process and poetry has changed. TR is all over the place nowadays. So much so that I am asking him to refocus somewhere so that I don’t have to follow him everywhere just to keep apprised of his passions.
The most courageous thing TR has done recently is start broadcasting a weekly solo-open-mic show of his music on Ustream.tv. WOW! It’s cool. It will be interesting to see if he DOES keep it up “weekly, at least through the summer.” Having set up LIVE open mics I know about concert promotion fatigue. But so far so good. And TR and I might be doing some open mics together in LA this summer as I head there for a Buzzie show towards the end of July.
RB is one of my closest confidants in terms of what works and does not work on the web. He has helped me recode the theme on this blog, between the hours of 2 – 4 am, cause that’s the only time we’ve got that we aren’t doing other projects or “work.” He is who I reach out to when I have a “uh, oh, I think I broke something” question.
And RB’s blog is currently returned to “coming soon” status. The proverbial online kiss of death. Almost as good as “under construction.” And it is not because RB is not writing and thinking about the web. He is. He tweets like a madman. But his time has become much more critical when allocating his tasks.
Here’s what he responded when I floated the potential of some shared work:
My other projects are sucking up my time pretty heavily so I want to make sure if we connect that I’m giving you the 100% that I need to give and you deserve…
So do you have time to blog? If I were “full-time” somewhere would I blog as much as I do? If I had fewer readers would I care as much as I do? Do have an ulterior motive?
And the real question is, IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME TO BLOG, what are you doing with that time? I would argue that A BLOG IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN A RESUME in today’s job market. If you don’t have an opinion about what’s going on around you, perhaps you don’t have a perspective at all. And that’s not good. People are hired for their perspectives as well as their track records.
And in the new social media order, WRITING IS THE COMMODITY. COMMUNICATION IS THE JOB!
Update: 7-11-09: I got this message in an email today.
Wow. Let me see, how do I take this? I could S-L-O-W my tweets to make this person happier. I could take offense at the “love but…” dichotomy. I could use his email to demonstrate my point about following and not following/not keeping up. I could do nothing.
So I actually used a combo of approaches. I wrote this person back and gave them a small piece of my mind. “I am trying to build up some momentum, land some business. I am doing everything I can to make that happen.” And then I aggressively said, “UFM if you need to.”
Essentially, what ever works for you is good for you. My follower count continues to go up, despite my refusal use a tweep-building app or tweet-building scheme. And in all honesty, I am dedicated to providing value in each and every tweet. Now, if I am tweeting while you are sleeping… well, is that part of YOUR TIMELINE or MINE?