Social media is dead, long live blogging

Urblogger Jason Kottke asked his readers to send him inspirational blogs and newsletters; he was impressed with the breadth of curated content.

As opposed to centralized social media plattforms with data vacuum cleaners attached, decentralized blogs will always be independent cultural tools with their own style and tech.

It takes patience and persistence to build a blog. So called social media might be a convienient click away, yet if it’s too easy people get lazy and turn into disposable consumers.

I also keep it out of spite, because I refuse to let social media take everything. Those shapeless, formless platforms haven’t earned it and don’t deserve it. I’ve blogged about this many times, but I still believe it: When I log into Facebook, I see Facebook. When I visit your blog, I see you.


Root down blogging

No more useless APIs. No more Facebook likes or selfie sharing banalities. It’s about time to reignite root down blogging. Keep it simple and focus on what matters. Stand behind your beliefs. Write stories you think matter. Stop writing to be found on search engines. Stop sharing mindless banalities. Start being independent again. Start root down blogging.

Thanks Ghost for the reminder, even though the service is more about centralization, albeit the bare bones focus is how to break it down. It was time to revamp this digital space we call personal blog, a space that allows the self to rethink itself, trailblazing the decentralized web. Because you own your content that should be stored on your own server, independent, far away from the centralized servers of the supposedly free world.

„Bob Marley was a prophet for the freedom fight. If dancin‘ prays to the Lord then I will feel alright I feel a good to play a little music. Tears running down my face ‚cause I love to do it.“ – Beastie Boys



Earlier Social Networking

Blogs were one of the earliest forms of social networking where people were writing 1,000 words. When we moved to status updates on Facebook, our posts became shorter. Then micro-blogs like Twitter came along and shortened our updates to 140 characters. Now we are even skipping words altogether and moving towards more visual communication with social-sharing sites like Pinterest.

Dr. William J. Ward, Social Media professor at Syracuse University, from The Rise Of Visual Social Media via fastcompany

What’s the deal with Bloggers?

Great visual about bloggers by Flowtown with data from Blogpulse and Technorati. According to their numbers, out of the 143,890,000 million bloggers, the majority are well educated men in Cali who watch tv, enjoy reading other blogs, are self employed and earn over 100k a month. Looks like the results lack an international perspective.

Werbeblender: PR, Pampern und Blogs


Wie wäre es mit einem kostenfreien Wochenende, mit Begleitung, in Barcelona zum Produktlaunch der neuen XS 50 Kamera? So kann eine Anfrage für ausgewählte Blogger sein. Für die meisten etablierten Journalisten ist kostenfrei auf Kosten anderer ge-pampered zu werden alter Wein, für ehemals unabhängige Blogger ist die Pamper-Kultur relativ frisch.

Während der Hauptoffensive des Irak Kriegs sind Blogs aus dem Boden gesprosseen, vor allem weil Bürger verblendete Information der Bush Krieger verstehen wollten. Einige sammelten sogar Geld ihrer Nutzer ein und waren vor Ort für sie unterwegs. Die meisten aber bloggten aus der Ferne und verlinkten zu den CNNs dieser Welt.

Kostenfreie Meinungen, getarnt mit ge-pamperten Ego und ohne werbliche Kennzeichnung sind auch als Native Text Ads im Angebot. An die eigene Propaganda zu glauben ist einfach wenn man eigene Vorteile à la Wulff mit nimmt. Ich hoffe es sprießen weiterhin genug neue Blogs aus dem Boden, die verblendete Weiterleitungsinformation filtern und Selbstzensur üben.

Die Grenzen verschwinden und am Ende ist es keiner gewesen. Uns helfen auch keine systemische Kollektiv Ansätze, die Monopole und Faulheit fördern, sondern ehrlicher Kommerz ohne Neid.

In $2.5 Million Judgment, Court Finds Blogger Is Not a Journalist

Although the defendant is a self-proclaimed “investigative blogger” and defines herself as “media,” the record fails to show that she is affiliated with any newspaper, magazine, periodical, book, pamphlet, news service, wire service, news or feature syndicate, broadcast station or network, or cable television system. Thus, she is not entitled to the protections of the law.

via Media Decoder

Slow Blogging, alt Slow Food

Jack writes an article about blog hype. Nice. Jeff, Jay, Dave are all there. Gawker too, mentioning Jeff  again. Whether bloggers are competing with oldskool journalism, even a topic in Germany. Let’s focus on some issues raised in the Slate piece. Where’s Mickey on this? Btw, nice job on getting discussion about Slate going in blogegology and pissing off a few bloggers.

Guerrilla Tactics
Jack sets the tone from the get go. I wasn’t in college at the time when videos were to change broadcasting, but there is a point made. What did happen to the media apocalypse of amateur video producers assembling their own truth, eventually squashing broadcasters and subsequent blossoming of alternative news outlets?

Albeit, the web is different this time around. It’s much easier to disseminate news that matters to you. To put it bluntly, all you need is net connectivity. Back in 1981 when Jack used his two-ton-suitcase to record moving images, where was he going to disseminate the recording? A major hurdle.

Even if the new Guerrilla TV Channel was to cast it, how credible would the moving images be? And how many would even care to watch or find out about it? That said, finding a channel to cast the material, let alone find the audience – difficult.

Now think about producing moving images today. Ok, the video recording devices got lighter too. All you need to do is upload onto your pc/mac/linux machine, ftp it, write your blurb, press post in your blog software, voila! More importantly, receivers on the web will discover your video mainly via Google and worldwide referrals traveling at „click here“ speed.

Talent and Economics
Once your „click here“ speed is reached, your content will filter through personal bias, competition, non-linking, networks of benefits, and some ignorance before anyone takes notice of your moving images; even talent takes time to reach an intended audience.

No more than two-ton-talented video producers in the 1980s had difficulty reaching their intented audience, some bloggers today have yet to share their talent or become discovered. And as Jack posted in the letter, „The ultimate limit isn’t economic, but talent.“

Even though quality standards and credibility are usually determined less by sheer numbers, as most know, think of the Bild or Sun in Europe; colorful hacked trees speaking to the babble of the masses. Higher paid advertising actually goes to the NYTs of this world, who get more bang for their bucks, knowing their readers focused time commitment.

Technological Determinism
Just as the net was to advance our home sweet home immersion, one danger of blogging-to-blog might well be more noises instead of voices, which relates to sheer talent of course. And this is Jack’s key point I think,

The danger of fetishizing a new technology (the Porta-Pak) or a new media wrinkle (the blog) is obvious: In the rush to define the new new thing and celebrate its wonders, the human tendency to oversell kicks in.

Self-Gratification & Big Media
Even if Ed Cone thinks boring, Jack. And worse, inaccurate or The Liberal Conservative attests Jack Shafer doesn’t get it.

And belittling that movement by directing his barbs at the particular representatives of blogging at a particular conference only serves to demonstrate how deeply Shafer’s ignorance lies.

Enough said, it seems as if the Editor-at-Large in Seattle touched a sensitive spot that caused some heated reaction, because if it’s all that inaccurate, why even take it serious? But taking it into the recent conference at Harvard was a bit tactless.

Slate might even know that some bloggers are already a larger force, link authority or influential source than Slate itself. I think it’s an existential issue at stake here. And those who are willing to adapt to the changing media scape will determine their survival. Dan probably has real inside understanding, especially because he worked as a blogger and journalist for years under the hood of Knight Ridder. Always wondered how that was possible. Now that he left the Mercury News, it’ll be interesting to see what’s next.

In any case, the changes are happening as you read, bloggers, writers, posters, audio casters, journalists, architects, and academics are still figuring out how a „java script“ is causing so much noise in the web publishing industry.

Another barrier has fallen and those who disregard the transformative power of net communication via blog-like software are missing the point. It’s only beginning and you can shape what’s left. One point did ring positive in Jack’s piece and rumble at the conference: slow blogging. I like the idea, just because you have a connection doesn’t mean you should always post.

What Missing the Blog Means

Panic and a sense of detachment among readers? Many didn’t know where to look for their daily news. Others felt isolated and disconnected from, again, others. And because the basic human communication need is to know about the other, isolation and panic are two possible outcomes.

What missing the newspaper means
This is yet another reference to Berelson’s groundbreaking study from 1949 (Berelson, B. (1949). What „missing the newspaper“ means. In PF Lazarfeld & FN Stanton (Eds.), Communications Research, 1948-1949, pp. 111-128.), which looked specifically at the New York newspaper delivery strike in 1945. Of course, back then, the two key news sources were radio and word of mouth, so the lack of such an important medium had a larger impact than one would assume today. Albeit, there has been no conclusive answer to what it really means when readers say, „I miss the newspaper.“

Weblog consumption and absence
From a blogging perspective then, there are some parallels towards what happened in this web space from November 22, 2004 until January 3, 2005. Only this time it wasn’t the newspaper delivery boys and girls on strike, but rather technology. And because blogging has become an integral part of my daily routine, the impact of its disappearance has a few social and psychological affects.

Few have experimented with stepping back from this dated web publishing format, focus has been on consumption habits and less on the absence of user blogging, the weblog itself, and a no-blog reading diet.

The issue of blog abandonment has been noted in a study by Perseus. It discovered that the churn rate among bloggers is relatively high. Even prominent bloggers, such as Andrew Sullivan wonder if their production output is simply too much. In the case of my personal  blog, chance allowed re-evaluation of purpose, as opposed to throttling content creation or concious abandonment.

Value of Blogging?
Clyde Bentley’s paper from 1998 refers to the value of newspapers and their absence, quite similar to a departure from blogging,

This study, like Berelson, employs the folk axiom absence makes the heart grow fonder in examining why people read a newspaper. More specifically, it lets people who have been denied their regular daily newspaper explain the societal and personal values that make this common medium important to their lives.

Blogging is not yet common, so why has this medium become important to readers and producers?

For starters, the speed information travels in the blogosphere and how it relates to eachother is much faster than pre-1999, the birth year of weblogs, not to mention the sheer number of bloggers growing worldwide. Iran itself is reaching the 100,000 mark, if not already more than that.

In countries where the freedom of voice is curtailed or where news organizations fail to provide a closer account of the truth, the need for understanding what news IS rises. During the Iraq War, the blogosphere’s modes of knowledge were leveraged into the mediasphere, notably via Salam Pax, who at times provided a closer account than media behemoths.

Even academia is learning about the value of these dated websites. To some extent, a few are already breaking the knowledge control cycle common in universities, as thoughts move beyond geo-political coordinates, allowing others to take part in their cycle. Friends learn six degrees of seperation anew, first they read a few personal weblogs, only then discover Others to learn from and exchange with. CEOs are posting letter order into the blogosphere and other firms use these sites for internal communication or project specific purposes.

Weblogs on involuntary strike
That all sounds wonderful, but what does missing the blog mean? If people engaged in routine acts of reading and producing blogs suddenly suffer an unexpected disapperance, how does this affect them socially and psychologically? It would be interesting to hear from others about such experiences, let me first share some experiences in the time frame between November 22, 2004 and January 3, 2005.

The act of blogging has been an integral part of daily and weekly routines; since 2002 on three different web spaces, one of which remains my own blog. It all started with the inability to post: the essence of blog content. During the first hours of reality check, discovery that solving the problem would require patience, brief panic was a prevalent sentiment.

Problems to solve
After some sweat and scream, few questions needed resolve:

What will happen to the blog? Will I be able to recover the database data? What technical blog skills do I need to improve? Does the site need a conceptual re-launch? How will readers react? Who will help solve the problem?

Help came from unexpected places, which is nice to know, a community of bloggers exists in physical spaces too; not only at conferences, but when the situation calls for it. This then lead to another eye opener: database knowledge helps when noodling with weblogs, as do Perl scripts or time efficient css styling.

Conceptuallly the site is fine, although they’ll be more audio content – the special section will see some light too.

Return from isolation
Similar to Berelson’s isolation finding, missing the blog meant isolation in the context of the blog community itself too. Once you stop taking part in the blogosphere of ideas, you become a stand alone reader with less to share. Similar to shoving your book back into the shelf with broken hyperlinks and letters of ink.

Another aspect worth pointing out is that without the blog, I realized how much of the network is being built around people who blog. So, to shut down my blog seems unrealistic for now. Albeit, distance from blogolonia was like a vacation from all the speed and noise. It actually felt somewhat relaxing at some point. Imagine leaving a clogged busy highway with everyone zipping by, honking, crossing layered bridges with flying cars in one urban metropolis of 2017, only now to return with the signal blinking: beep beep.

Some final thoughts
1. It remains in many parts a mini-media with public awareness challenges and purposes.
2. Self importance of many bloggers polarizes late adoptors. „Been blogging for five years!“
3. Bridging the digital with physical will determine its ability to move content.
4. Talk about or link content to your location and less about weblog tools and why you’re blogging.
5. Delete your dynamic database once a year and start fresh with your Google juice.
6. Realize how much inconsequential old content exists for post-to-post reasons.
7. Blog writing is the process of understanding your understanding.

I still can’t answer what missing the blog means.

Blogs and Digital Culture

Weblogs link content.

To and about cultures, news, studies, thoughts, concepts, immediate reality, and practically all digitally inter-connected spheres. They allow glimpses into ambigious time and space coordinates, mostly personal and opinionated they speak out and invite to understand, define forms of digital being – enabling the self to re-think itself, writes Mortensen. They have the capability of linking the digital with the physical and challenge our notion of publication while re-defining news specialists. Intertwined in comment loops of foreign faces. Sharing a culture of real virtuality, which Castells describes as

a system in which reality itself is entirely captured, fully immersed in a virtual image setting, in the world of make believe, in which appearances are not just on the screen through which experience is communicated, but they become the experience.

These experiences are as diverse as the audiences themselves that oppose the idea of Mass Culture as Eco describes,

one thing we do know is that there doesn’t exist a Mass Culture in the sense imgained by the apocalyptic critics of mass communications because this model competes with others.

It is a nano culture that gained mediasphere visibility during the main offensive of the Iraq War, partly because netizens used this highly democratic publishing technology to make sense of war propaganda in times when the press cheers for the home army;

even in modern-nation states with supposedly free, democratic news media, writes Macarthur.

As a higher goal in any democracy is self actualization, the weblog is a supplement to this aim and

becomes yet another cultural form in which its representations (how it is perceived or thought about) can be viewed as a political position.

Mortensen, T., & Walker, J. (2002, April 8). Blogging Thoughts, pp. 265.

Castells, M. (2000). The Rise of the Network Society (Second ed.), pp. 404.

Eco in Castells, M. (2000). The Rise of the Network Society (Second ed.), pp. 363.

Trend, D. (Ed.). (2001). Reading Digital Culture, pp. 296.

Macarthur, J. R. (1992). Second Front – Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War, pp. xi.