Robert Scoble wrote yesterday about how he seems to be yawny about blogs lately. I couldn’t let this slip by without taking a closer look at his observations. Here’s the line-by-line:
- He says: “Blogs have lost their humanity. Their weirdness. Instead we’ve become vehicles to announce new products and initatives on.”
For one thing, I question who the subject of that last statement is. If he’s referring to himself and his circle, that might be worth noting. I don’t share the same sentiment, and I think even for someone who keeps tabs on 900+ feeds every day as he does, it’s still tough to make that claim as anything other than what you’re observing in your chosen reading patterns. You’re a victim of your appetites. I understand he might be suffering from format fatigue having been involved in this game for so long, and that in the interim an entire sub-industry has developed around using blogs as a better news-breaking format. But there’s lots more going on in the world of words. In the comments, I offered the challenge that he ought to trade OPML with a different person for a week, abandoning his current feeds temporarily, and see if he still feels the same. One might also ask whether he’s getting burned out on his own pursuit of news about new products and initiatives. He could give that a rest for a while.
- He says: “Weâ€™ve gotten too caught up in the TechMeme games.”
Not all of us, probably not even most of us. I rely on TechMeme as a reader, but my interest in getting on TechMeme doesn’t affect what I choose to write about. I know there are a ton of people who are dying to be “discovered” by the known industry bloggers, but there are also a whole lot of people who are not in it for that at all. I liked Robert’s videos on gaming TechMeme, but would have equally liked something less breathless and more structured and thought out. He seems to be calling out a pursuit that he’s been directly perpetuating, which is a bit weird.
Further, there are lots of people using blogs to connect with a specific readership, with their own local area, or to speak to a specific set of people. None of these groups are likely to be caught up in the TechMeme games. Most of them probably completely ignore it.
- He says: “Weâ€™re bored. The interesting stuff is happening off blogs.”
I agree that lots of interesting interactions happen in physical space, when people get together in person. As Don Draper commented, “Youâ€™ve just now figured this out?” I think the “we” here should be an “I.” If *you’re* bored, Robert, I completely understand. How could you not be burned out every now and then?
- He says: “Creative stuff and ideas and questions are getting spread out all over the place.”
Agreed. On blogs, in person, in videos, in links, scrawled on napkins, on the phone, on TV.
There are new conversational formats emerging and growing, to be sure. Video is neat, and especially with technologies like Seesmic, there’s the potential for more dialogue in new ways. And conversation via information streams on Facebook et al has been steadily increasing. But blogs are still as weird as you please, speaking in terms of the whole of what’s out there.
What you might find weird or interesting has always depended on what you’re in to, but here are a bunch from my daily reads, that don’t talk at all about new product or company news:
- Kung Fu Grippe
- TV In Japan
- Bankrate Mortgage Blog
- Golden Age Hip-Hop
- Oh Word (where I first heard of the Ghetto Big Mac)
- Heaven and Here (about The Wire)
- Passive Aggressive Notes
- Screw Asylum (a catalog of interesting screws)
- Trucker Tom (a trucker podcast)
Update: Steve Rubel wrote on a related topic today, about curbing his enthusiasm for new companies and technologies. Instead of saying blogs in general are now boring and “we” are bored of them, he puts the emphasis on his own irrational exhuberance for all things new, in his own beat. I think it makes a bit more sense and is easier to swallow in that context.