Being an old guy has very few advantages as far as I can tell, but one is the perspective of time. In my 50 years I have seen more technologies than I can remember arrive with the herald of great expectations only to expire with a whimper.
- CB radios
- 8-track cassettes
- Floppy disks
- Zip Drives
- Fax machines
Blogs? Wait a minute, you may be thinking, isn’t this a blog? Aren’t we sharing big ideas (Keliher), penetrating commentary (Mrje), economic analysis (Carideo), erudite opinion (Benidt) and “MILF Porn Tube” (Austin) via this forum?
Yep. And we’re a dying breed.
That’s the conclusion I draw from a report in Friday’s New York Times that points out the truth most of us know about the blogging world – the vast majority of blogs are essentially abandoned, standing like empty ghost towns along the information superhighway. Started with the same misplaced enthusiasm that led Sam Parkhill to open a hot dog stand on Mars, most of them were never well-patronized even in the boom days and now have been left even by their owners whose dreams of wealth, fame or influence went “Poof.”
The Times‘ story reports that “[a]ccording to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days.”
The hard truths are threefold: first, lots of people have discovered that successful blogging is hard work – not in the ditch digging sense but in the sense that it takes time and effort to create new posts that are interesting and thoughtful enough to merit reading and to do so frequently enough to bring readers back. The SRC has always run best when all of its contributors are posting frequently and adding comments to one another discussions that – along with the excellent commentary by all 7 of our most frequent readers (and you know who you are) – make the joint lively and worth visiting.
Second, lots of undiscovered authors and pundits have discovered that the reason they were undiscovered was not lack of access to the audience. One of the big insights from the blogging phenomenon is the confirmation that most of us, when given the opportunity to speak our minds on anything we want to a potential audience of billions, don’t have much original or profound to say.
Third, blogging – like any species – is evolving to fit a niche in its environment. A year or so ago, the news of Governor Spitzer’s stupidities was broken by bloggers; today the first notice would almost certainly come via Twitter. Bloggers who previously viewed their mission as delivering breaking news have moved on to an even faster, more urgent channel. Ditto the bloggers who thought it important to provide instant “reaction” to such news.
Technological obsolescence is not a new story, of course, but it’s also not a story that’s ending any time soon. Looking forward, here’s a couple that are about to peak (or maybe already have):
- Flash drives
- Voice mail
- Incandescent light bulbs
What are your candidates for the technological scrapheap?