When I signed up to do the MS Charity Ride earlier this year, one of the perks that came along with it was a free 1-year subscription to a magazine of my choosing, from about a dozen.  I chose Wired magazine, since I read their articles online now and again, and it was the only one that really interested me.  The November 2008 issue showed up at my house a few days ago and went right into my favorite reading area, the bathroom.  While flipping through the new issue last night, I read a somewhat alarming article by Paul Boutin called Kill Your Blog.  Still posting like it’s 2004? Well, knock it off.  There are chirpier ways to get your words out. It appears that the full article is also online but called Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004, which helps me explain a lot better since I got rather angry while reading it and can easily write rebuttals to Mr. Boutin’s words and allow you to read the entire article to agree, disagree or come to your own conclusions.

Writing a weblog today isn’t the bright idea it was four years ago.

Mr. Boutin goes on to say that the web is full of cut-rate writers and underground marketing campaigns who all but drown real writers.  Ok, so I’m not supposed to write because I don’t have a degree in it and because it’s not cool anymore?  Not as cool as four years ago, so I should stop now?  He goes on to say,

It’s almost impossible to get noticed, except by hecklers.

Sorry, not a valid reason for me to kill my blog.  People write for many different reasons, my boss’s wife started a blog for her then unborn child, who is now nearly 3, and it’s always being updated.  It was intended to be read by friends and family, and so her daughter can look back at her childhood at a later date.  I started Randomn3ss because I wanted a way to write rebuttals for other blog articles I read that might not have comments enabled, to share knowledge on topics that interest me and to have a public place to rant.  Take a quick Google search for How to list an eBay auction and Randomn3ss is in the first slot, followed by nearly the same article that I submitted to J.D. Roth of GetRichSlowly for republishing on his site.  Another such Google search for Make money selling digital photos shows Randomn3ss is first again.  Proof that I did get noticed and not by just hecklers, by people searching for things that I’ve written about that they want to read about.

On with the article Paul runs down a list of the top 100 blogs according to Technorati and points out how impersonal they are, how they are nothing more than online magazines and one single blogger could never compete with the power of a full time blog team cranking out 30+ articles per day.  Again, that’s assuming everyone wants to be in the top 100 of Technorati, a site that most people who aren’t bloggers have no clue about.  Likewise, I’m OK with the fact that these online sites are where they are, they write, for the most part, quality content that has a loyal following.

Paul brings Google back into the article, saying,

Today, a search for, say, Barack Obama’s latest speech will deliver a Wikipedia page, a Fox News article, and a few entries from professionally run sites like Politico.com. The odds of your clever entry appearing high on the list? Basically zero.

But I’ve already showed that it is indeed possible for a non-professional to write an article that people will read and that does well in Google.  In fact, I’m writing this article during my lunch break at work right now.  Not a valid point in my eyes.

Another generalization Paul makes is that only the scum of the internet will find your articles and leave comments on them.  Again, this has not been my experience.  While it is true I’ve taken a beating for my spelling mistakes, I’ve admitted I’m no pro at it and put my tail between my legs and corrected them.  Spam isn’t much of an issue thanks to a back-end method of controlling those types of comments.  On the positive note, commenter’s have left some really great suggestions, ideas and feedback and I’ve met some amazing people who in turn, blog as well.  Imagine that, nice people on the internet.

Further, text-based Web sites aren’t where the buzz is anymore. The reason blogs took off is that they made publishing easy for non-techies. Part of that simplicity was a lack of support for pictures, audio, and videoclips.

I know that you are 18 years older than me Paul, but I’ve been on the internet since the early 90’s and feel pretty comfortable with saying that even by 1995, photos and music, albeit horrible midi sounds were every bit apart of the net.  I can’t even recall the last full text-based site I used. Since your article refers to 2004, did you live in a different part of 2004 than I?

Social multimedia sites like YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook have since made publishing pics and video as easy as typing text.

I agree!  But, none of them are a replacement for running a blog.  Facebook is the new MySpace, MySpace was the new Friendster.  How many people do you know that are still on Friendster?  What happens when one of these social networking and media sites deletes you from their system or no longer keeps an archive of your content?  At least buying my own server space gives me the control over backing up my content and keeping it online for as long as I choose.  Social networking and media sites are going to be here for a while, but they are not a replacement for ones own site.

Twitter — which limits each text-only post to 140 characters — is to 2008 what the blogosphere was to 2004.

I couldn’t disagree more!  Twitter is a cluster right now.  It’s being used by people who seem to have a need to let everyone know that they can’t fall asleep at 2am and by major news outlets to spew links to their newest articles to get published.  I’ve been trying to use Twitter for a year now, I have a love / hate relationship with it but it is in no way anywhere near being a killer app.  Again, most people outside of the tech world don’t know what it is and even trying to explain it to a stranger is hard.  Your only reason for seeming to like Twitter is that it can be searched instantly without waiting for Google to index it. Have you published an article online and then searched the title in Google 15 minutes later?  Chances are pretty good it will show up.  What is an acceptable amount of time for an article to get indexed?

Bloggers today are expected to write clever, insightful, witty prose to compete with Huffington and The New York Times. Twitter’s character limit puts everyone back on equal footing. It lets amateurs quit agonizing over their writing and cut to the chase.

So because someone can’t write a clever, insightful, witty article they should instead just go to Twitter?  That makes no sense.  All the NYT does is post links to their articles, which is automated.  They don’t have someone sitting in their office [that I know of] who is responding to peoples comments on articles.  There is no conversation or long term archiving for it.  And who says I want to compete with any of those sites.  I don’t compete, therefor I can’t lose.

Ironically, the title of the article is what drew me into reading it in the paper magazine.  I wanted to know why I should Kill My Blog and a few lines into the article, I started to chuckle.  Here I am reading an article about blogging and why it sucks and I’m reading it in a 20th century fashion, a printed on paper magazine.  Who reads magazines anymore?

Paul Boutin makes his living as Senior Writer for Valleyway, a Tech Gossip Blog.  A blogger telling me to stop blogging.  Interesting…