What Is Blogging?

A few things have come up in the blogosphere today that are worth mentioning. I’ve been saying for some time now that “blogging” these days, is anything but. It appears that others are also coming around to this idea too as there are more and more articles talking about the content of blogging.

Today, ProBlogger had an article called “What Do You Miss About The ‘Good old Days of Blogging’?” I left a lengthy comment:

“i miss actual blogs.
or rather what i miss is actual blogging: original content that catalogs goings-on of interest of individuals in daily life. web-logging is hardly that these days. blogging has become a free web hosted wasteland where everyone who can type (and some who cannot) can now talk like an expert on everything. in the old days we used to call these “websites.” now they are called “blogs” for some reason. i’ve seen many blogspot.com sites that certainly were not blogs.

another bad side effect is that bloggers who don’t write about social or political issues are no longer considered to be “real” bloggers and often find themselves shunned by the new generation blogging community. the number of sites where the articles are based on the author’s personal experience with social issues are extremely few. typically, the content is the usual regurgitated professional news media article with personal commentary. that is fine if the person is an actual expert. most are not. the truth is, if free blogging sites did not exist, the vast majority of those “social consciousness” sites would disappear overnight. “serious” sites are self-hosted.

but the community itself is not very healthy. as time goes on we see less and less original content, as now, blogging is all about readership numbers. so backtracks, linking and virtually cut and paste re-publishing of the work of a limited few seems to be the easiest way to get something up on a blog that will generate numbers. people who ordinarily wouldn’t get involved in a pyramid scheme are doing just that by playing the numbers game.

i’ve been blogging since 1996 when i had my first commercial website. i wrote the exact same kind of articles that i do now, more than 10 years later. that doesn’t make me better. it also doesn’t make me any less either.

i miss the days when i could cruise blogs and read original content about what people do, and not have it be about the blog itself. i miss the time when blogging was just about having fun and not about changing the world.”

Weekly Articles about Blogging had an article called “The Sexy Girls of Tech and Politics: The Unbeatable Trio” that really drove home the point that in order to “make it” in the blog world, which according to them is hooking “into the minds of the people who vote for your articles on social media sites” one must appeal to the baser instincts of a male dominated blogosphere. To me, blogs that have the goal of high rankings miss the goal of connecting to the readership. If your readers are cruising around looking for sexy photos, they are not interested in interactive commentary on the blog where they found them. They just want to leech those photos off your site. Our goals at TheNHBushman.com are very different.

So I have come up with the definition of the perfect profile for a successful original content blogger:

A porn film director, running for local office

This profile meets all the requirements! S/he could write articles about creating erotic films, replete with all the required photos of sexy women in compromising poses. The director’s articles would also appeal to the techie crowd, with hot topics about the technical aspects of erotic film making (I can just imagine the titles!). Controversial articles on local politics and the interaction with the erotic media would appeal to the political junkies.

I’m sure that person would be a huge hit on Digg. But, truthfully, what is the value of such content?

Now by this time you’re saying “But there isn’t really anything of value on your blog either.” Technically that is a true statement. The value is in the perception of the individual. At least one thing is certain, we strive to bring our readers a product that contains original content that is designed to connect with the readers. Through our blog, people get to know us and our friends and learn things about our lives. We’re not talking about what other people do – we’re talking about what we do. We show you where it all took place through the use of photographs and geotags. Our readers have more of a connection to our blog and the owners than they would ever experience by reading a blog comprised of articles copied from the news media.

Recently we’ve done a few things geared towards branding, and added commercial advertisting to the site. We’re content with the fact that (barring another 5371 type incident), we’re never going to be high on social networking and ranking sites. But that means our content is not going to appeal to the baser instincts of sex, or controversy. Yet occasionally I do post a technical article. I have an upcoming review that should appeal to the photo gear techies.

So, that’s my comment on blogging. Now it’s your turn to tell us what you think!

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  1. I don’t think you need to be in the top charts to prove you are good blogger. I do enjoy your blog with stories and photos a lot. But may-be one reason for that is that I am also in Taiwan learning to know the culture and people. So your experiences help me to do it as well. Thank you for that.
    I personally started blogging beginning of 2006 to keep my family and friends informed of what and how I was doing on the other side of the world. Blog allowed me to write stories illustrated with pictures. It also allowed the people who were interested and cared about me to access the info without me jamming their e-mail 🙂
    once more thanx, for good and interesting content in your blog.

    helen’s last blog post..mõnus laupäev

  2. MJ,

    I agree with you. The blogs I like mostly focus on things of interest from the blogger’s everyday life or experience. For example, I don’t care to read a layman’s opinion of his local pro sports team. There are much better professional online sources for that An entry by the same blogger attending a game and what it was like I think is more interesting and valuable to me. Just like i don’t care too much about a blogger arguing why the DPP or KMT is superior. Instead a blog about living, eating, and traveling in Taiwan I think is far superior. The same goes for message boards. Most of those have been a complete waste of my time.

    owshawng’s last blog post..Penang, Malaysian and Thai Cuisine

  3. helen » for whatever reason, we thank you for reading our blog and especially for taking the time to comment 🙂 a very good use for blogs is to keep friends and family informed of what we do and how we live. those blogs can grow into a very useful collection of information about a place or profession.

  4. owshawng » check out the trackback to this article for an excellent example of what i mean: a blog consisting entirely of links to original content produced by others. lol thanks to them for making my point!
    copy your comment about the layman’s viewpoint. you are so right about that! fortunately the Taiwan blogosphere does have experts who write on political and social topics, so you don’t really have to wade through the angry teenagers spouting crap to find the good content. i rely on those Taiwan bloggers for my information in English and they are a great authoritative source. just to be clear, i have been referring to sites that you mentioned, i.e. a layman’s disconnected viewpoint about things out of his realm. this is exactly why i refrain from such commentary. thanks for your comments.

  5. Well stated MJ.
    I have about 3 posts that are consistently in my top 5 for search engine results. These three posts have nothing to do with 99% of the content of my site. Maybe a couple people out of the hundred or so a day that view that one post will find other content they like, maybe they won’t and move on. It really doesn’t matter to me. I’ll continue to write about what interests me, I certainly won’t base my content on what has brought in the highest hits, that would be boring. If I wanted to win a stats race I would just include content that appeals to prurient interests and troll every other blog and message board whoring my site.

    Also, I look forward to your photo gear review 🙂

    Todd’s last blog post..I?ve been tagged! [twice!]

  6. Todd » funny you should mention that because the 2 things that bring in the most traffic to my site are search engine results for images i have on flickr.com and 5371. the articles themselves are rarely linked to. thanks.

  7. I’m still a new blogger. My blog will be a year old in January, so I can’t comment on the old days of blogging. More often than not I have to really search for blogs that keep my interest and provide, what I consider to be, meaningful content. My tastes are quite specific. I tend to haunt travel blogs, my friends in the Taiwan blogosphere and artistic blogs. I’ve met some amazing and inspiring blog authors over the past year.

    I respect what others have to say and try to remain open-minded, even if someone’s content doesn’t appeal to me. I hate seeing blogs that regurgitate someone else’s work. It drives me nuts when people copy and paste my articles into their own blogs. This happens a lot and it frustrates me because I put a lot of time and effort into my posts. My blog was started with the intention of entertaining folks back home. Since then, it has grown into something very personal and precious to me. My Several Worlds continues to grow with me. I’m not sure where it’s going, but I really like the path it’s on.

    Terrific article MJ. Way to go!

    Carrie’s last blog post..To Luang Prabang, With Love

  8. Carrie » i suggest that you make a Terms of Service for you blog so you can enforce your content. it’s easy to get a blog shut down for copyright violations because their ISP doesn’t want to be implicated.

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