Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Has blogging jumped the shark?
I've noticed over the last month that everybody -- and I do mean everybody -- is blogging. Just about every day, somebody I know is starting a blog, usually on Blogger (it's understandable, if not devoid of clunky HTML coding, and, most importantly, FREE).
Google, which owns Blogger, is either be feeling the strain or further plotting for world domination. And Yahoo must be wondering why it missed the blogging train completely. At least Yahoo Mail gave everybody a gigabyte of space to fend off Google's GMail. Worked for me.
But if nobody reads your blog, does it really exist? I guess you can tell from the comments if people are reading, but so far I have gotten none. I think there's some way to add a counter to the page. Guess I'll have to look into that one.
But blogging has already developed a style that is designed to attract people to your blog and perhaps lure them to bookmark and look at it on a daily basis.
First of all, you have to relentlessly read other blogs, then quote from and link to them when you find something interesting. Keep on doing this and tbose people will find your links through Web services that keep track of this sort of thing (I'm not sure how that works, either). Then they will check out your blog, curious about who's linking to them, and they might, in turn, put your blog address on their "favorite site" list to the side of their page, hoping, of course, that you will or have already done the same with them.
And that's how the general Web-surfing public finds out about new blogs, by reading about them on the blogs they currently read and following the links into the ever-more-vast world of the blogosphere, as it is called.
The whole Web is so webby, that I think there's even a way to figure out how many people have added your blog to their "favorites" menu in their browser. Again, I know nothing more about it.
Now that I've settled on a page design for this blog, I can proceed to add more to MY favorite blog list to the right of these posts. (That list gets wiped out every time you change page designs from the Blogger selection.)
So, back to the question, has blogging jumped the shark? Is it on the downhill side of the hump? I think the whole idea of making money by blogging is probably over with, if it ever had any truth to it in the first place. For Blogger and Google, it's just another way for it to place text ads and draw people into their orbit for future services.
Some say the Huffington Post, the big celeb-fueled, left-leaning political blog started by righty-turned-lefty Arianna Huffington, signaled the shark-jumping moment. Others think that it is the beginning of blogging's golden age. Still, others think it signals nothing.
Still, everybody is blogging, or at least thinks they should be blogging (or that somebody should be blogging for them). Newspapers are all pondering when and how they should be blogging. It's a media revolution in the making. But how to manage the cacophany of everybody and everything blogging around the clock about every topic large and small? I think most people, myself included, have neither the time nor the inclination to flood their blog with posts, madly search the Web for quotable, bloggable fodder and then assemble it and begin again. Making Blogger easier to use (I think it IS easier with Web browsers that aren't IE 5.0 and 5.2, which I use) would go a long way. I can do elementary HTML, but who the hell wants to? And you need a good computer that doesn't crash a lot, a lot of time, an obsessive-compulsive streak and a lack of willingness to leave the keyboard. Guess I'll have to work on it.