You should give a read to the Community Guy‘s post in response to a recent article in WIRED. Jake contends that the state of the blog is not dead and that Paul Boutin misses the mark. Blogs are not what they once were. But that doesn’t mean they are dead. Twitter may sound great in tech circles but most people I talk with don’t get it and don’t want to get it. Facebook isn’t much better, but they make connecting to other easy which does provide the intimacy Boutin says is lacking in blogs today.
Blogs are morphing and it is time to think of them in a new light. This mentality that everyone would subscribe to family or personal blogs via RSS readers was never going to be a reality. Blogs can be used for a number of different things than they were originally intended serve. Boutin is looking at blogs they way they were initally intended to be used. Nothing on the web ever stays they way it was originally planned. We are doing things on the web today that were though virtually impossible ten years ago. For example the idea that we could use spreadsheets in an online application like Zimbro was just a pipe dream ten years ago and even then it was thought that clientside Java would be the platform independent vehicle to make it a reality. Things change.
Blog stats continue to show that they have a limited shelf life in most cases. This would suggest that users give up on the concept as it isn’t easy to write something compelling for others to read regularly or they serve a specific purpose for a limited time. I suspect it is a combination of the two. Events where groups of people congregate for a short period of time can share and collaborate in a central location during the relevant time period makes sense to me and you don’t have to mess with Facebook or MySpace it is just open. This is where Ning is playing.
Finally, Boutin contends that video is the wave of the future. Sure it is easy to do video, but having graded many student video projects over the years I am not looking for amatuer video. If you think it is hard to write something, try composing a compelling shot with a camera! Then you still have to write and collect your thoughts, worry about how you look, deal with external distractions, editing and the list goes on. Talking head webcam video is dismal and bland. It may be exciting to Boutin now, but over time this will continue to dimish as professionals provide better and more polished content.