Shutting Down My Blog
That's what Valleywag author Paul Boutin wants me to do in his latest Wired magazine article aptly-titled Kill Your Blog. Don't worry, I am definitely not going to heed Mr Boutin's so-called advice and I'm not shutting down my blog (although I bet this post title just got me a ton of clicks). Neither should you.
Boutin, the hypocritical author of a New York Times article published in March aimed at showing you how to blog, now asserts that you should quit your blog right now.
It's almost impossible to get noticed, except by hecklers. And why bother? The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.
No. Flickr is great for posting a photo of the 500,000 Mercedes McLaren SLR I spotted over the weekend, but I can't tell you how I learned to code with Flickr. The same type of thing goes for Facebook and Twitter. Each service has its own purpose and use. Understand that.
Boutin states that it's hard for bloggers to get recognized. Louis Gray and Chris Brogan agree that running a popular blog is about how often you promote others on your blog, therefore making it easier for people to find and read other great blogs. Every few days I discover blogs through conventional social bookmarking news sites like Hacker News as well as through recommendations of friends via services like Feedly. Generally the great blogs I find are small but have very detailed, niche content - stuff that would have no place on a Facebook Note.
"The odds of your clever [blog post] entry appearing high on the [search engine results] list? Basically zero."
Basically zero? Not so fast Boutin. It all depends on the content. Niche is king here. Of all the things I've ever written on my blog, a post I didn't really care about when I wrote still brings in new visitors. If you Google for "you need permission to perform this action" you'll find my post about fixing a Windows Vista quirk. It's those types of blog posts that I am so grateful of blogs. Now what if everyone took Mr Boutin's advice and stopped blogging. Google would sure as hell be useless for searching for code errors and tech support. In my experience the best answers are found on blogs.
The "authentic voices of amateur wordsmiths" are still there and most definitely get noticed. Take this blog as an example.
The rest of the article has no real substance as adequately supported by this blogger's reaction to the piece. Boutin brings up the case of Jason Calacanis who stopped blogging in favor of his private mailing list. Boutin failed to bring up how Calacanis himself or other bloggers republish just about every email in that list to blogs.. kind of defeats the purpose, no?
I could have gone into much more detail slamming the Wired article but it's quite obvious that it's just linkbait. As usual, some wise commentary can be found on Hacker News:
Writing a blog helps you organize your thoughts, improves your writing skills, and teaches you to make good arguments (and recognize bad ones).
None of that requires having an audience. At least an audience larger than your friends and coworkers.
If you like to write, don't stop writing because it's not "where the buzz is at". There's more to life than following trends.
Note: As for why I have been posting sporadically lately, three of my professors have somehow found a way to set identical due dates for sizable projects.