As usual, Nick Carr loves the "poke in the eye" headline ("IT Doesn't Matter Anymore", "The Big Switch") paired with rather prosaic analysis. He's at it again with Who Killed the Blogosphere. His catalyst is the recent article in the Economist on the mainstreaming of the blogosphere, Oh Grow Up. (See how Nick takes a reasonable article about the evolution of the blogosphere and turns the volume to 11 - where distortion overtakes the music- by claiming the "blogosphere is dead".)
Well, here’s an interesting response: Blogging's not dead, it's becoming like air. I like point made in the post that people don’t lose interest and just go into listen mode. Instead, they STILL participate in the web, but in myriad different ways – especially twitter, FB, and MySpace.
BTW, That’s why we called our effort “Gartner Web Participation”. It’s about participating in the Web, not just reading or writing blogs. For example, I participate actively in both the REST-discuss and SOA Yahoo Groups. I also twitter, and I even find time to add my very small part to Wikipedia.
I think it’s a real stretch (but one that Nick Carr is good at) to characterize the Blogosphere annual report as the “death of blogging”. I urge everyone to read all 5 of the reports that make up the annual report. It paints a very different picture from the one Carr draws. Here’s an interesting chart from day 2:
Most Professional and Corporate Bloggers have benefited professionally
The majority of corporate and professional bloggers have seen a positive impact as a result of their blog. Half are better known in their industry, and one in four have used their blog as a resume enhancement. Fewer than one in ten have seen a negative impact from blogging and one in three have yet to see an impact.
BTW, In a comment to his post Carr “clarifies” his position to say that:
“There are blogs, Tim [Bray], and long may they live (yours very much included); it's the idea of the blogosphere that's pushing up the daisies. If you come up with a new word for what remains, do let us know. Blogipelago, perhaps?”
So to use Carr’s deeply flawed analogy, he’s claiming that we’ll all be listening to only the top 100 blogs in a couple years, because only the HAM fringe will be listening to themselves. So to back this up Carr should show some stats regarding the average web user’s viewing habits. How often are they reading top 100 blogs vs. reading hoi polloi blogs?
The best analogy is the Web itself. The Web hasn’t “died” just because some Web sites are mainstream. The Web and the Blogosphere are still media in which an individual with little investment and no license can attain a global voice overnight – if there stuff is interesting enough.
Here's a great example from Sunday's New York Times, Finding Fame With a Prescient Call for Obama:
In an election season of unlikely outcomes, Mr. Silver, 30, is perhaps the most unlikely media star to emerge. A baseball statistician who began analyzing political polls only last year, he introduced his site, FiveThirtyEight.com, in March, where he used his own formula to predict federal and state results and run Election Day possibilities based on a host of factors.
Other sites combine polls, notably RealClearPolitics and Pollster, but FiveThirtyEight, which drew almost five million page views on Election Day, has become one of the breakout online stars of the year. Mr. Silver recognized that people wanted to play politics like they played fantasy baseball, and pick apart poll numbers for themselves instead of waiting for an evening news anchor to interpret polls for them.