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What’s Wrong with Blogging? – Take 2

200602031759Last year I did something that I thought I’d never do (as a lover of blogs) – I invited readers to share what they thought was wrong with blogging and today I think it’s time to do it again.

I introduced the question last time by sharing a story of a debate between a Christian group and Pagan group where each group was asked to not argue FOR their own belief system but to share what they disliked about it. The result was fascinating.

Instead of it ending in an angry fight where everyone just had their beliefs reinforced the debate was actually quite constructive with both groups coming away having learnt something about the other and more importantly themselves.

Out of this story I invited readers to share (in a similar spirit) what they felt was ‘wrong’ with Blogging.

The benefits of Blogging are often talked up as though they are the answer to every online need – but I think most of us if we are honest would admit that it’s a format that does have limitations and has room for improvement. So – like last year – I thought I’d pose the question again.

What’s wrong with blogging? What are it’s limitations, weaknesses and where does it need to improve?

My hope is that by answering this question and deconstructing blogging a little we can play a part in the improvement of blogging as a whole. By identifying what’s wrong perhaps we can improve it.

Like last time the rules are simple – say anything you like about blogging as long as it’s not positive (note: I’m not inviting you to critique individual bloggers – but the medium itself). You can do this in comments below or by writing a post on your own blog (just leave a link below so we can find it). There are no wrongs and rights and everyone’s critique of the medium are valid and welcome.

So – what’s wrong with blogging?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Simon says:

    I don’t know who my regular readers are – except for the cryptic user names in bloglines.

  2. Mike says:

    There’s no pre-blogging minor leagues and any goober can call myself….er, himself a blogger.

  3. Comment spam
    Splogs

    Ignorance – When people who aren’t internet savvy ask me what I do (including family members), I have to give a very vague answer to avoid a 10-minute explanation.

    Scaling Problems – Many factors don’t scale well with traffic growth, like the overload of personal email. So I have to triage more and more ruthlessly.

    Metablogging – blogging about blogging. :)

  4. The main thing is that the real blogosphere — those who support this site, for example — is quite a small part of the 200 million blogs now out there. The general public is still almost unaware of the 200m, so how much more unaware are they of our earnest, introspective ramblings about how important we all are?

    My 2 cents of bile for blogging. :-)

  5. Victor says:

    Can one thing be too popular that it actually does more harm than good? I think blogs are getting to be this way. Everyone and their uncles are swtiching from your standard websites and “getting a blog”. I don’t blame them, it’s easier to maintain IMO.

    Because of this, and because there is such a HUGE commercial focus on blogging now, I’m wondering if it will all be so saturated to the extent that being a “blogger” really is no different than being a website owner from before the advent of blogs and the blogosphere? All of the uniqueness will be lost in the crowd..

    I hope some of that made sense. It’s too early in the morning and I’m still half asleep. ;)

    Vic

  6. Aaron says:

    Blogging. So much Right but so much wrong. For instance, bloggers (in general) have a huge ego whether justified or not. And since the only checks and balances are in the court of public opinion, bloggers can be anyone they shape themselves into. It’s likely the one medium on the internet that has the most potential for inauthenticity.

    For instance, Darren, you may not be a problogger after all. You put up a good site but I reckon that most of your ideas can be gleaned from surfing Technorati for awhile. It becomes difficult to know if you really are credible or if you are riding others coattails.

    I say that tongue-in cheek, of course, because you obviously do have an established and credible reputation (except with the Top 100 people at Technorati who think you run a splog! :p), but my point is is that there’s not alot of authentic transparency in blogging. Or maybe there is.

  7. Grant T says:

    Some bloggers like to make big statements about themselves that are rubbish.

    I just saw one saying that they were the largest community of Professional Bloggers in the world (it’s how I found your site) and frankly I don’t understand how they can get away with that type of statement. To me it is just hot air.

    It’s just an example of the rubbish some bloggers talk, I think it’s seeping into the culture of blogging.

    While blogging has always had ego as an issue I think these days it is increasingly being built on competition rather than co-operation.

    On a different tack, I don’t like how blogs are dominated by one person. It’s my personality style probably but I am more of a forum kind of guy. I’d rather a format when anyone can start a conversation rather than just one person.

  8. Things seem to move too fast in the blogosphere (whatever that means).

    The “shelf-life” for content on blogs is getting shorter and shorter. And forget about keyword searching … (unless you’re searching for a specific item you’ve seen earlier).

  9. Leon says:

    Remember folks, the question is what’s wrong with blogging, not what is wrong with people’s understanding of blogging. Personally, I believe that the once pure art of blogging is now being corrupted by commercialism. I have nothing against genuine blogs that want to make money, its the ones that are all about money. I’ve seen blogs advertising penis enlargers, mortage payments, you know, the kind of stuff you’d find in your junk mail. People are also abusing free blog hosts like blogger to set up porn sites and whatever.

  10. Tam Denholm says:

    I hate the word “blog” and all words that stem from it such as blogging, blogger, blogosphere, blogroll, etc etc.

    The word “blog” and its huge list of bastardisations are extremely overused and VERY annoying.

  11. brem says:

    a blog is just a website with new content displayed in reverse chronological order.

    Then again, a website is just a file.

    and a file is just bits.

    and bits are just …

  12. What’s wrong with blogging: what makes it fascinating also makes it a huge time consumer (some say waster.) Unless you are extremely self-disciplined and focussed you can fritter away the hours which would be better spent elsewhere.

  13. Cas says:

    I really dislike the term ‘blog’.

    I have a different slant on what Vic says up in comment number five. I dislike the trend if people saying “I have something on blogspot/wordpress, therefore I am a blogger, I am unique, and what I have is different from a website”, when most often it isn’t. The content is the same – all that is unique is the back-end that allows easier publishing of ideas.

    Corollary to this, I dislike blogs where comments are turned off – if you’re a genuine blogger who is interested in making something special and different from the traditional, then you really should engage with your readers – no comments, and you really are no different from the old guard.

    I’m a bit of a snob in that I dislike how easy it is for anyone and their cat to have a blog now – sadly just because you want to be able to write, doesn’t mean you can, or you should. Finding ‘good’ content is getting harder and harder as the blogosphere gets bigger. (I can’t believe I just used that word, ‘blogosphere’. I hate it even more than I hate the word ‘blog’. And I used it twice!)

    My last two things are to do with bad practice in blogging, not blogging in general:
    I dislike blogs where there is no clear ‘about’ section.
    I really dislike blogs that hide/make hard to find their RSS feeds.

    I’m not allowed to say what I love about blogs, so now I sound all grumpy. Just for the record, I embrace them and their potential, but just as with a friend you’ve known for years, I can appreciate their flaws. :)

    ~ Cas

  14. p.s. the fact that I’m here when I should be doing real work speaks for itself :=)

  15. Jesse says:

    What’s wrong with blogging?

    OMG!!! LOL!??!?!? He lookd @ me and I was like OMG!!?!??!! I mean xactly what do u think u r doing?!??!?!??!!!

    That is what is wrong with blogging. Too much crap covering up the good stuff

  16. Aaron says:

    lol @ Jesse… :)

  17. Joe says:

    Hey Darren,

    I agree with Leon in comment #9.

    To take it one step further, How can Major Corporations consider what they put out as Blogs, Blogs?

    Once the Big Guys start in something like this, the Little Guys will end up losing any credibility they ever had.

    Joe

  18. shawn says:

    Hi Darren, I posted my perspective here and here.

  19. Nasruddin says:

    Id Love Blogging And Hopes I’ll Become A Problogger One Day But The Problem is People Dont Atrract To My Blog..

  20. A.H says:

    The big only grow bigger, the small shrink as they watch the big ones swallow their hope.

    A.H

  21. Ken says:

    I don’t like the fact that all blogs are considered personal journals by many in the general public.

    There needs to be a new term to represent blogs that focus on providing detailed information on niches.

  22. BradFitz says:

    Nice graphic in your post Darren… looks like that Performancing Photoshop tutorial is paying off!

  23. Mariano says:

    I’ve noticed some kind of “elite” in blogging where people quote to each other and take over topics into the circle. They don’t link other blogs, they don’t give you credit, they don’t want you to succeed…
    Kinda blogging x-files…
    Seriously, I see this very often. Sorry, had to say it, I feel better now.

  24. Leon says:

    Oh please Nasruddin. You attract lots of people to your blog. You have 14 readers on Feedburner with only 157 hits. I’ve got over 2000 hits on my blog and 1 reader on Feedburner. Still Atom is my main feed so I may have more.

  25. PXLated says:

    Ummmm…define a blog. I used to know (at least I thought I did), now what are called blogs are all over the board.

  26. Mark Daoust says:

    - The exclusivity of blog circles and networks
    - the fact that blogs are constrained to a certain ‘style’ (basically just journal entries by individuals)
    - the lack of a need to check facts when a story breaks
    - the way a story can steamroll by one blogger copying another’s opinion, who copies that opinion, who copies…
    - many times the informality of blogs – I see more swearing and unprofessional behavior on blogs than any other website

  27. shawn says:

    In regards to PXlated’s comments, the definition of a blog is probably at the heart of what the problem is with blogging. If a blog can’t readily be defined in a few words so that Joe Schmoe can understand it, how can blogs grow?

  28. What’s wrong with blogging is that starting a blog is a bit like getting a puppy. They are really cute and fun at first and then you realize that you must feed it daily (posting) and clean up after it (comment spam) and take it for walks (promote it) all without a break.

  29. Linear and non flexible. This is a conundrum for blogs. They lend themselves to linear thoughts, but archiving information and continued threads are terribly difficult. Posting a thought a day may not reflect the totality of the posters thoughts. Political blogs and personal ‘cat’ blogs can work well in this format, but some blogs – business, marketing, self-improvement for instance, require a ‘point of reference’. I love the format and I love working on my blog, writing – finding interesting posts to link to and such, but the linear format is not the best for me. Currently working on a hybrid approach with content management and creating a ‘blog’ page within a website. Tagging and categorizing to handle information. Anyway, that is the problem I have with blogs…. Oh and add that it would be nice to see some different formats instead of long, scrollable pages… ya know?

  30. Great thoughts everyone. Here are my three cents:

    1. Blog search engines are still somewhat slow and buggy – even Technorati and IceRocket aren’t able to adequately track the explosive growth of the blogosphere.

    2. It’s too easy for bloggers and commenters to fake their identity. (When “George W.” visits and links back to whitehoue.gov, something’s gotta be up.)

    3. Spamalot!

  31. Cary says:

    The biggest problem I have with blogging is all the infantile personal attacks, etc, that you see between the really big players…to be honest, this is why the only really popular blogger I read on a normal basis is Darren :)

    Blog Networks calling each other names – get a life…if you can’t refrain from throwing a tantrum I’m certainly not going to turn to you for news or opinion.

    I also don’t like how easy it is to drop by a blog, leave a really nasty comment, and then just disappear into the ether (or should I say the ethernet!)

    You’d never do that in a face-to-face situation.

    I think that’s going to be my new standard…if I wouldn’t say it in a one-on-one, I’m not going to write it in a comment either :)

  32. That’s my philosophy too, Cary.

  33. Steve says:

    When I first started blogging, posting one blog a day was considered real active in my niche. As more people started their own blogs within the same niche as mine I could see more and more people passing stories around and swapping links and regurgitating the same crap.

    Now, I need to post 4 to 5 times per day in order to stay up with competition as if more is better. People used to feel satisfied with a post a day but now they are more hungry and need more and more and more and more posts or they get bored.

    So, in a sense blogging has become an addiction to the point that each new fix you need a little more and a little more. Where you were once satisfied you are not even getting “high” now. Now my niche is at the point where I have to post 4 or 5 times just to feel normal.

    Dear Lord, when will all stop????

  34. Michael Rew says:

    After I began reading blogs on a regular basis, it was easy for me to forget the rest of the Web existed. Blogs foster a segregated mentality. Blogs refer to blogs first, to all other Web sites second. Circles of thought exist which few people know about outside of blogs. But once a reader is sucked into a circle, he wonders why other people do not know what these bloggers know.

    Blogging as new media presents a new danger. As old media lose readers and viewers and advertisers, and as full-time reporters are laid off, who will report the news? A professional blogger is paid by ads to write niche content that people want to read. Do people want to read about Richmond, Virginia’s local crime scene? Probably not in crime blotter detail, but they might find Mark Holmberg’s column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch fascinating. But Holmberg earns a living reporting details about local crimes. His opinion columns, in which he offers insight about some of Richmond’s most hardened criminals, come later. If he lost his job, I doubt he could professionally blog the same material.

    Blogs are not designed like books. I want to switch my poetry site to a blog so new poems can be added automatedly. I am tired of having to handcode every new poem and handcode every new template. But I want to retain the bookish quality of the site. Visit my site, and I hope you can see what I mean. There is a Table of Contents, an Index of First Lines, and each poem has its own page (unlike what blog loops display)…what any basic book of poetry has. But so far, designing a blog to mimick this seems a blog too far. Furthermore, it is very difficult for an established Webmaster with respectable traffic for a niche who has no knowledge of PHP/mySQL to find a beginning point in blogosphere documentation.

    Someone could do us all a favor if he or she blogged about where to begin. Example: (1) Open a blog, either on a free service or your own server space. (2) Write some content, and have you or your friends comment and trackback and subscribe to the RSS feed. (3) Figure out how to promote your blog. I have questions about all of these, but most sites about blogging jumble it all up.

  35. Bill McRea says:

    It is too easy for on person to create to many blogs and then not maintain them properly.

    Back to work!

  36. Adam Graham says:

    I think the tendency to tribalism is a huge concern. The blogging world allows us to seperate out into clans and tribes. (Liberals and Conservatives, etc.) The tendency is to stay within that tribe which threatens to expound the balkinization of society. I would also say that earning money from a blog is a serious challenge, in one way too serious. Its not about what you write but who you know and who notices.

    It seems to me that the content that attracts swarms of visitors is almost totally random. I had one comment that I put together in 25 minutes that drew thousands of hits and 40 comments while other items I’ve worked on for hours on end has gotten virtually no attention.

    I’d have to say Bloggers are generally underpaid for their advertising. Google got a very large number of page views for their advertisers and paid me $7.94 last month. This is a deal they could get in no magazine or newspaper, even a small one.

    I’d also say that my Blogging Software is part of what’s wrong. At least once a week, I get a MySQL error on my blog and have to get that reset.

  37. Well Maybe It’s Because You Captialize The First Letter Of Every Word.

    er: bad blog thing is that the easiest way to get attention is to do something stupid. This is no different from the rest of life, though.

    My main problem is that the tools are not intuitive. I’m stuck on blogger for now and am slowly coming to the realization that it sucks. You can only remove “amp;” from all your URLs with params so many times before you get pissed off.

  38. Adam Graham says:

    One other thing I’d add is there are far too many Feed Reeders out there, and to have buttons for all of them makes your blog look ridiculous.

  39. K says:

    What I dislike about blogs?
    Poor writing.
    No need to cull words ’cause the bigger the post the better, right?
    Here today, gone tomorrow blogs.
    Blogs with no clear topic or purpose.
    Blogs with a random posting schedule
    (daily and then nothing for a month).

    I also think some people get hung up on blog vs website vs…
    A blog is a tool, that’s it.
    I don’t go to a site because it’s a blog.
    I go to the site because it has great info.

  40. Laura says:

    I get annoyed by people with an anti-blog attitude. They think every blog is a personal rant space. They don’t clue in that a blog is software, any site can be run using blog content management. I’d like people to stop looking down their noses at blogs and see the real potential.

    I’m an editor at a web directory where there are tons of blog submissions. We are just beginning to make headway into getting other editors to see blogs as software/ content managment not the content itself. It is an uphill battle. So many people are proud of how narrow minded they are.

    I’m sure someone else has mentioned comment spam and spam blogs. I’d also like to see a blog timeout. When someone hasn’t updated in several months their blog just dissolves. :) It’s aggravating to go through all those one month wonders, blogs abandoned after just a few entries. It’s a real treasure to come across one that is active and you can see the archives go back a year or more. Those are real bloggers. :)

  41. Cary says:

    To Steve (commentor #33)

    I had the same problem you have, where it seems like similar sites are writing 4 or 5 posts a day, and you feel like you can’t possibly keep up.

    I Finally decided to just drop my subscriptions to those sites, and to be honest with you I am much, much happier now…Besides, I’m not personally very interested in passing on a link that’s already been passed on 10 times, so I don’t really feel like I’m missing out on anything, and now I don’t feel like I’m falling short either.

    It has the pleasant side-effect of making blogging fun again, and first & foremost, if I’m not enjoying it then it’s no different than any other chore, right?

    Stop reading those sites! ;)

  42. Jon M says:

    Seriously.. Can I really tell you what I Dont like about Blogs.. Ok let me begin.. please get ready to scroll a mile a minute, light a cigar, pour yourself a pint, or take a nap. ..

    Here is my Top 10 Reasons Why I Dislike Blogging.

    1. Personally I like video blogs but because google are a right bunch of dictators, determining what will show in their engine, and how long it will show for.. I have stuck with TEXT as that is what they are looking for.. So I dont like.. even after slugging away every day posting content.. search engines act like GODS determining what is good and what is not. If I could get my hands on the guy from google I would like to kick his ass around the boardroom.

    2.Its not so much blogging I dont like its WordPress… and before a army of ass kissers jumps on board and says.. OH but hey man its FREE.. dont complain about something that is FREE.. : my response to that is.. Kiss my ass.. real good…!.. Whether its free or paid for.. if your going to put something out.. please be sure to put something out that isnt as buggy as bill gates software. 2.0 is utter horse manure…You have to install about 100 plugins to get things working that were working in 1.5

    3. Blog Software creators, such as Anconia, Post2blog and Blogjet. First off.. Anconia is the biggest pile of doo doo that has hit the net. Yet the guy continues to sell it. The only thing that works on it.. is the installation.. the help guide was just laughable, the support was insane and well… I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole.

    Blogjet does the job.. but since 2.0 screwed things up.. a lot of the features no longer work but the creator couldn’t give to tosses.. Thank God I never bought that pile of Tripe.

    Post2blog –… well the only software right now that I will vouch for the owner.. he works his ass off to help his customers.. and well hes at the mercy of another wordpress screw up. …

    4. Everyone thinks they have the original content.. a little searching around and you find that 90% of it is on other blogs.. yet everyone wants to have a big argument and a tissy fit about why they are the true author as.. they managed to get theirs online 1 second before you.

    5. I agree with Post 33.. He said ” So, in a sense blogging has become an addiction to the point that each new fix you need a little more and a little more. Where you were once satisfied you are not even getting “high” now. Now my niche is at the point where I have to post 4 or 5 times just to feel normal.Dear Lord, when will all stop???? ” Due to Search engines dropping pages into the blackhole to stay on top you have to be posting faster than you can breath…. I now cant go to bed unless I have posted.. so.. I think their should be some Goverment warning on the WordPress Site ” Warning Blogging will seriously Damage your Health ”

    6.#35 The lady said.. its too easy for people to get too many blogs online..Loads of networks starting up overnight.. Everyone wants the entire cake.. Everyone is in the same niches.. Laptops, Digital Cameras, Blogging, Desktops, Movies, TV, News, U name it.. we are all in it.. meanwhile we are telling people to go tighter lol.. yah right.. mate What and let you take all the DOH! lol. Not on my nelly! So begins a fight to the death of everyone trying to be Number #1 on the search engines for every Model of Technology under the sun…….

    7. Due to anxiety attacks we face everyday, trying to stay ahead of the crowd.. Oh Lord.. Please I just have to squeeze in One more post before I start on the next 24hrs.. we end up posting utter crap online… Example…

    Ok this Model of Cell Phone is called a .. ummmm Hold on a minute while I check out what the other guy called it on his blog”.. Oh yah.. there we go… Now this phone has some great features such as … umm.. umm.. Bueller. bueller, anyone anyone??? Oh screw it let me just Grab a chunk of his text from his blog.. and a chunk from this guys and this guys.. and well that saves them going to all their sites.. and well it saves me rattling on about a cell phone that Ive never seen in my life… P.S Please just click on my BLOODY ADSENSE ….. so I can get rich and put an end to this utter Madness..

    8. Blogs are making my teeth go brown.. I can barely see straight… in between trying to post to 30 blogs at once and research what the other guys have said about this and that.. that I dont realize that I have just consumed an entire gallon of coffee. and its not even 10:00 am.

    9. Since I started Blogging my Monitor has got a lot Hairier ( is that how you spell it.. who cares.this is a blog ). My wife Put a wig on my monitor and I havent seen her in weeks now…. I barely remember what I look like..

    10. Blogging is sneakily given me carpel tunnel and im totally oblivious.. as I have to just get One more Post online….

  43. AK says:

    The idea that there is a right way to blog. There’s a growing feeling (reinforced by Google and other search engines) that a soccer mom writing about her day is less important than a blog that (1) picks a hot SE topic, (2) uses RSS feeds and pings, (3) forms a network by seeking out incoming links and other SEO techniques to gain traffic… etc. Some of the most interesting blogs are ones from a teenager talking about life in high school, but it seems sometimes that the blogging world feels that blogging has to be a full time activity to get it “right.”

  44. Erno says:

    1. SPAM
    2. despite your good intentions to speak about people, some may personally attack you
    3. very time-consuming even when I try to make a quicky

  45. Ben Paton says:

    200million blogs of rubbish! The best blogs I know are the ones that hardly anyone knows about or read, I like to call them hidden blogs.

  46. 1. The huge, gigantic, unstoppable EGO of bloggers (in general, nobody specific in mind here.) The attitude that blogs are changing the world, that they’re the new media, or that they’re some high-and-mighty artistic endeavor that transcends a mere “web site.”

    2. The words “blog”, “blogging”, “blogger”, and especially “blogosphere.” Oh, and “podcast.”

    3. The cavalier attitude many weblog writers have toward correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, and voice.

    4. The anti-commercial attitude that advertising, weblog networks, or business sense are going to ruin the “pure” nature of weblogs. We already had the “commercialism is bad” discussion 15 years ago when the ban on commercial Internet use was lifted. It’s over. You lost.

    5. The over-commercial attitude of many “pro” bloggers who are shoveling together sites on “hot” topics with useless, spammy content in the hopes of making a quick buck.

    6. Exclusionism. The attitude that I’ve seen from multiple quarters that “x isn’t a true weblog:” Livejournals aren’t weblogs, Business sites aren’t weblogs, multi-author sites aren’t weblogs, and so on. If it’s displayed in reverse chronological order, it’s a weblog. Live with it.

    7. Bloggers’ ignorance about the real world. Most people don’t know what a blog is, and don’t care. Most people aren’t in the “blogosphere.” Some people don’t even have computers, and that doesn’t mean they don’t matter.

    8. Weblog awards.

    9. Comment spam.

    10. Writer’s block–the fact that I write more in Darren’s comments than on my own sites.

  47. Andrew says:

    Volume being rewarded more highly than value. Especially in terms of SEO, quality of content can be buried under the volume of links or posts someone can accumulate.

    I only have about 20 blogs in my regular feeds and only a few that I would consider gems. So much garbage around.

    I don’t like the advertising leaflet equivalent of blogs linking to other peoples content for the purpose of generating clicks.

    I also don’t like that I can’t reveal my best ideas about my job on my blog either, but thats really not the blogosphere’s fault.

  48. The biggest problem-

    Abuse of what blogging can actually do for business and people in general.

    Though there really isn’t anything wrong with blogging. Everyone has to take into account that people have been doing this since the internet started but it really hasn’t caught fire until the past year. The folks here that said anyone “CAN” call themselves bloggers are right and that can empower alot of people to do things they want. But that also brings the geniuses that “ABUSE” that and jack it up for everyone.

    Get excited, blogging is here to stay whether there is a problem or not. Because folks are making money….alot right Darren!?

  49. Duncan says:

    The never ending need to feed them. They are like a child that never leaves home and will die if you don’t feed them.

  50. What’s wrong with blogs? People think they are easy so everyone and their brother / sister is jumps on the “blogwagon” only to find out that after a couple of posts they don’t know what to say leaving the rest of us to encounter tons and tons of blog litter strewn all over the place.

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  2. [...] journey. For example – I’ve asked readers a couple of times to answer the question ‘What’s wrong with blogging?‘ – the results were illuminating and I know that a number of new blog tools were written to [...]