The evolving blogosphere

The blogosphere appears to be slowly maturing and evolving as time goes by. Some A‑listers are moving on to other interests, while professional media companies and group blogs are moving in to occupy the top spots among blogging’s élite (yes, there is a blogging élite). Jason Calaconis dramatically announced that he was quitting. Nick Carr is taking the summer off. Robert Scoble is spending more time with FriendFeed. And so it goes.

Last week, Rafat Ali’s PaidContent.org was acquired by The Guardian for an estimated $30 million, and now Alley Insider has raised a large chunk of cash to move its model to the next level. There’s talk of other acquisitions by mainstream companies of big, A‑list blogs.

Stowe Boyd is transitioning his blog into a media company by adding others to create a mix that suits his interests.

Meanwhile, a look at Techmeme reveals the growing presence of mainstream media company blogs as contributors to the online conversation that is news. Individual voices are being pushed to the side, prompting some to speculate the the blogosphere is history. It’s not, but it makes for a nice story.

These changes are visible and clearly something is happening, but I don’t think it means as much as some observers suggest. It was just a matter of time before traditional media companies awakened to the reality that blogging and blogging software is just a much better way to communicate information online. I always remind people that blogging was not invented by traditional media; it was created by the tech community, which explains why every form of stand-alone blogging software shakes hands so perfectly with the Web. It’s clean and uncluttered, and RSS is the end game. Search engines are pinged, comments are automatic, trackbacks are allowed, the simple creation links is built-in, and posting is a breeze. Traditional media company online publishing software typically has had none of that, because it was created to be one-directional.

And so when I see mainstreamers entering the blogosphere, I rejoice that professional journalists have finally caught on to how important it is to be a part of the conversation instead of simply assuming a conversation-starter role. As important as that is, it’s vastly more important, IMO, that everybody participate in the conversation that is news.

In his post on these changes, Fred Wilson gave his reasons for blogging, and they’re both personal and professional.

This blog is me and I am this blog. It’s mine and will always be mine. I understand why many of the individuals who made blogging what it is are either moving on or turning their blogs into businesses. That’s the way it is. But I am fortunate that this blog is totally integrated into my business and provides great value to me and my partners. So it’s sustainable from an emotional and economic perspective and I plan to keep showing up every day.

Wilson’s blog is a powerful bully-pulpit from which he has enormous influence in the tech media space, and in this sense he’s a real competitor to the mainstream press.

As I explained on my “Transparent Terry” page, I blog to challenge my assumptions, and this I find enormously fulfilling personally and useful professionally. I never set out to gather a crowd, so I’m not as concerned about showing up every day as I used to be.

Personal publishing will always be the biggest part of the blogosphere, and niches the Holy Grail. But clearly, blogging has entered the mainstream, and who knows? Perhaps one day we’ll all just be plain old media instead of the “us versus them” that we still find today.

Comments

  1. “Slowly” evolving? I beg to differ.

  2. I blog so longer thoughts show up on FriendFeed. 🙂

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