I went looking for inspiration this gloomy morning and found something interesting—not inspiring, perhaps, but interesting.
No one blogs anymore.
I went to my go-to sources for anything thought provoking and found that, for instance, Malcolm Gladwell hasn’t updated his blog since November 2010. Clay Shirky had two posts in March but, before that, not since last December. Chris Anderson’s Long Tail blog has been on hiatus since 2009. Even that relentless blogger Mark Cuban is reposting things from 2004 in what he admits is a shameless plug for his appearance on SharkTank. All of this the same day I find that Patch is hiring 8,000 bloggers in eight days, none of them paid.
So on the one hand, blogging may be over and on the other, it’s on the rise—but you can’t make any money at it. Maybe that’s the problem: extremely few people have ever made any money at it. Former bloggers (note the “former”) say you have to work the blog—comment, rate, push, play in social media—if you’re going to get any results. And results usually just mean traffic to your site.
Blogs, like much of social media, are essentially marketing masquerading as something interesting. In the case of Patch, they masquerade as journalism—and these days, there’s no money in that either.
Turns out that the thinkers, the ones I respect anyway, are getting on with the work. They write books. They make speeches. They research and think and create. They add to our collective wisdom and understanding instead of just pushing links to someone else’s work around in the blogosphere.
The secret to a good blog, just like to good journalism, is original work of high quality. Yes, there’s short-term appetite for photos of Kate Middleton but, in the long term, we need something more valuable than a tweet.