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What’s Wrong with Blogging? [Take 3]

Whats Wrong with BloggingBack in 2005 I asked my readers a question that surprised some for a blog like ProBlogger – I asked readers to talk about what was wrong with blogging.

I introduced the question 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 their own Faith perspective. The result of that debate 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.

Similarly the responses to my question about blogging were insightful also (in fact I’ve asked this question twice previously – in 2005 and in 2006 and both times were fascinating).

There were a couple of things that came out of those discussions:

  • it was a place for some bloggers to get some stuff off their chest about their frustrations with the medium.
  • the answers actually gave a number of blog tool developers some great ideas. I know that at least two WordPress plugins were developed to solve issues that came up in the conversation.

It’s been 4 years since I asked the question last – so in the hope of a productive conversation I thought it worth asking again.

What’s Wrong with Blogging?

What are the limitations of blogging as a medium? What are its weaknesses? Where does the blogosphere and/or blogging tools need to improve? What are you main challenges as a blogger that you don’t think you’d have in other mediums?

Hopefully in answering this question and deconstructing the medium of 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?

Over to you!

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. John says:

    I loathe the fact that approximately 80% of my visitors stay less than 30 seconds. I take pride in what I write and believe I have content that can make a difference in people’s lives. Of course, it will have no impact if they don’t read it.

  2. Mark Price says:

    Darren:

    What I find wrong with blogging has to do with the composition of the reading audience — specifically what I do not know about my audience. I would like to be able to apply marketing analytic to readership, and understand how many readers come from companies, what their roles/titles are, and how often specific readers come to my blog.

    As the leader of a consulting firm, I want to engage my target audience — I just do not know if I am or not!

  3. ChrisB says:

    Any written communication has the potential for misunderstanding because tone and body language cannot be transmitted.

    With blogging, the tendency to rush in the creation of posts makes this more common. And then there is the rapid-fire exchange of comments. Feelings get hurt needlessly in exchanges that wouldn’t have occurred face-to-face.

  4. charlotte says:

    One problem with blogging is that unless you have a topic with lots of news, at one point you have said everything you have to say, but you still need to create new content.

  5. John Wilson says:

    My problem is that people who feel they are the most Web 2.0 and social media guru’s tend to think they are better than everyone else. Here is a perfect example from a comment in this post (above):

    “My biggest gripe about the medium is that the quality of writing can be so POOR. Since it’s easy to self publish and blog, most bloggers don’t take the time to develop any skill in writing or even revising before hitting the publish button. Most don’t know how to structure a thoughtful post, develop themes and narrative, or know how to self-edit. “

  6. Cate says:

    I am a professional musician and music educator, and I think that blogging often suffers from the same banalities that the music world does–in an age that has given the average person incredible tools, everyone has jumped on the band wagon to produce a product without the years of work that go into establishing and AUTHENTIC voice.

    I am a woman in my 50′s who can not stand the ME ME ME voice of most bloggers. Where are the people trying to work through their own voice, their own originality?? It’s all the same, and boring as hell.

    This isn’t just limited to blogging though. It seemes to be in any field where tools have made it possible for the masses to express.

  7. Lack of physical activity as we spend hours and hours on computer growing our blogs, is wrong.

    So.. after I submit this, then finish and publish the post I’m working on, I’m taking the dogs for a walk – for at least 20 minutes! Whoo-hoo.

  8. Gennyca says:

    Starting a Blog is like programming the VCR. I know…what’s a VCR?

    My point is I want to blog. I have things to say. So my research begins; widgets, tags, links, posts & pages, del.icio.us, flickr, Meebo, RSS, gravatar, stats, tracking, HTML, CSS…aaahhhhhhh!

    I just want to share stuff about an Island called Roatan. With the help of ProBlogger and others, I’ve actually managed to post a few stories at;

    Life & Writing, on Roatan – Living on a Tropical Island – When not Independently Wealthy or Old Enough to Retire. http://gennyca.wordpress.com

    Oh yah, at least I now know the difference between http:// and http://www…I think.

  9. Salivanth says:

    I know this kind of thing has been mentioned before, but I’ll mention it again anyway:

    Blogging has a very high barrier to mastery, and a very low barrier to entry. This causes most people to give up after months, weeks, or days, and also ensures that it’s not a “If you build it, they will come” thing (Though that’s probably also why people give up).

    People need to seriously consider two things, I reckon:

    A) What do I have that’s unique to say? Everyone has something unique, but your cat’s new sweater ain’t it. Don’t sell yourself short. I tried to write a blog that wasn’t about a niche that I was good at because I thought it wouldn’t work. I got literally 50x the traffic on a blog that I knew what I was talking about.

    B) Do I have the dedication to continue with a blog, or am I willing to let it fail after a few months? Everyone can start a blog, but not everyone can WRITE a blog. The blogs that last for 8 months and have less than a dozen posts, I will never understand. If you’re going to blog, BLOG.

    Just my two cents. Oh, and spelling and grammar are important too, but as mentioned, English isn’t everyone’s first language. Using ‘u’ instead of ‘you’ and stuff like that is unacceptable though. Nobody was raised on 1337speak as a kid.

  10. I think what’s wrong with most blogging these days is the lack of quality content, and the lack of passion in what they are doing. I think some of them just do it to get it done and over with. Blogger should be more inspired in what they’re writing. That’s what makes a blog nice to read.

    Amy Cameron
    BuildMySiteforFree.com

  11. As a blogger you can’t choose your audience….Google chooses it for you to some extent.

    yes, you can guest post, link to carnivals, have a presence in forums, record mp3′s, make videos etc, but you can’t really decide who reads your stuff.

    This problem translates to high bounce rates, low comments and the myriad of abandoned bogs which litter the net.

    Another issue is if you don’t blog, you probably don’t know about blogging, so a large portion of people you would want to read your blog don’t even know what the medium is!

    I’ve recently read some posts about offline marketing, and while at first that didn’t make sense to me, as I start to promote my blog to non-bloggers, my site is getting more ‘sticky’.

    I would love to know what everyone’s bounce rate is…currently mine is 72%…ouch…but it’s better than 73%…;)

    Write On!

  12. mk akan says:

    it can take all your time,,,,it is time intensive

  13. Wendy Kinney says:

    The problem with blogging is the lack of reciprocity.

    Life is give and get.
    Blogging does not require anything of the reader.
    The writer gives–and the reader is welcome–without any reciprocal responsibility to applaud or participate.

    All performers need feedback from their audience. All leaders know it’s their responsibility to start the applause. We need to teach readers that they are leaders and owe a comment {“great post” does not qualify as a comment} as their part of the deal.

  14. mydiabetes says:

    I think there is nothing wrong with blogging but there are things we need to look at the making by providing accurate information to readers.

  15. adrienne says:

    @Paul Germana The problem isn’t that Blogger is different than WordPress. It’s that Blogger is so far behind. Blogger just implemented static pages on 2/3/10. Something so basic.

  16. chandan says:

    Why you think that blogging is wrong, I think blogging is the best way to provide the latest information, if blogging or bloggers not come to the internet marketing then internet revolution perhaps go back to the one or 2 years. So I never thinks anything wrong with blogging.

  17. ashok says:

    Jan Oda’s comment is all too true: you really do want the best English possible even thought it’s not strictly necessary, and that discriminates against some very, very talented authors. I should say that a friend has blogged in German, Dutch and English all at once depending on what he feels comfortable talking in, and if you produce enough content, it can work to a degree. I think part of the frustration might be that you want really awesome posts you’re satisfied with – I looked through ergofiction and you’re a seriously talented writer, and the work is paying off. A post or two for your friends once in a while might not hurt, esp. if you feel comfortable writing it.

  18. The biggest problem with the medium is also it’s greatest strength:

    #1 – Lack of accountability…people can write anything they want, but that doesn’t necessarily make it true. When others come along and read that information, it can be misinterpreted as valid simply because the information is not verified.

    The only other problem I see is lack of really good documentation for plugins. So often a developer may be a coding guru, but their sense of documentation for others that aren’t as fluent in coding is poor, at best and it takes other coders to decipher their horrible efforts and explain it out.

    The same goes for WordPress as a platform – while flexible and malleable, there is really no good “tutorial” or “instructiona”l set to give people a grasp of the fundamentals of what is involved in building a blog’s foundation.

  19. Janice Clark says:

    I guess one thing i found wrong in blogging is when you unload all your emotions in your post and looking for advice, some people will comment bad things about you. It can really bring you down emotionally.

  20. Jan Oda says:

    First a quick reply to those whor responded to my initial comment:

    @Gunnar Gällmo

    – “How I wish that Esperanto would have worked, so we could really connect without language barriers and the like.” F. Y. I., it _does_ work, for those who study it! See http://sv.lernu.net/

    What I meant was, how I wish everybody had studied Esperanto, so we could all be equally bad / good at a language. However, I blog about fiction, so in reality I’d probably hate that situation, because so much richness of language would get lost.

    @ashok

    - Jan Oda’s comment is all too true: you really do want the best English possible even thought it’s not strictly necessary, and that discriminates against some very, very talented authors.
    I think part of the frustration might be that you want really awesome posts you’re satisfied with.
    A post or two for your friends once in a while might not hurt, esp. if you feel comfortable writing it. -

    The biggest problem is that because of limited knowledge of the language, I lack the power to delve deep into topics. To really go beyond the surface of topics, I think you need to be a native speaker of the language you’re blogging in, or have enough time on your hands.
    Since I’m writing for an almost 100% English speaking niche, this often frustrates me.
    As for the writing for my friends, one of the main reasons I turned to blogging was that my real-life network isn’t interested in this topic, and I needed a place where I could discuss it with people who are.

    And thanks for the compliment.

    Second, after going through the comments, it seems there are 2 kinds of answers being made. What’s wrong with blogging, and what’s wrong with the blogosphere (Oh, how I hate that word), which are entirely different things.

    On the technical side, I think that the people commenting on the chronological issues of blogging and the archive system are definitely on to something. I think there is a need for a CMS that steps away from chronology all together, or at least makes this easier.

    I don’t think I agree with the people commenting about the lack of quality due to overproduction, and the ‘average joe’s’ being a problem of blogging.
    I think that at it’s core blogging is about commenting and opinions. Some blogs step away from this and become informative, but for me this doesn’t have to be the case.

    I think the rise of the blog is highly due to these ‘Average Joe’s’, because it turned out that people don’t need to be a payed journalist to be interesting, so I find it a bit strange to find them the lesser part of blogging now.

  21. Ben says:

    At some point in time, we begin to repeat ourselves.

  22. As an artist I think there is a danger in writing too much about your ideas. If you work out your creative ideas by writing about them I can imagine it would be possible to lose the drive to work out your ideas visually.

    On the other hand writing helps clarify them.

    http://www.cathymckelvey.com

  23. Nathan Lilya says:

    I have two problems with blogging. First of all, I feel that there are way too many blogs out there that are opinion only that portray themselves as factual. I think there needs to be some sort of accountability in media so as to differentiate between the “fluff” and the facts.
    Secondly, as a new blogger myself, I find it very frustrating with all the promotional hoops you have to jump through for all the different search engines, etc. I wish this process could be simplified. I’ve worked in computers for awhile, so I don’t find it too daunting, but for someone that LOVES writing and has never worked with computers before, this stage could very well be an overwhelming task.

    Nathan
    Science and Medicine – For The Rest Of Us
    http://therestofus.everlinkweb.com

  24. My problem with blogging is the slowness of developing an audience. My first “serious” blogging effort was on a BlogSpot blog, and it took months, (and luring readers from a friend’s Blog) before I gained a single subscriber or follower.
    I am by nature a “people-pleaser”, and in my 38-year long career as a Chef and Restaurant Manager, I had daily feedback on my ideas and my cooking skills, so maybe that’s why I need more feedback than the average Blogger ?

    Another negative thing about Blogging, is the development of one’s own Niche. While I am an expert, and have written extensively about the training of Cooks and Managers in my former business, there are way too many Food Blogs, and really, My interests lie more towards Social and Political subjects than they do about Recipes, Techniques, and Product promotions.

    About a year ago, I signed up with a blogging network, and thought that as the “Blogatize” network grew, I would have another Political writer to exchange ideas with, and hopefully have some areas of disagreement to argue about, and develop some “Buzz”. That Blog was good enough to be picked up by Kindle, for their blog subscription service, but the other political writer on my network was a close-minded bigot, and never responded to anything I posted about his articles and philosophy. It’s hard to have a meaningful discourse, when the other guy is just spewing canned “Bumper-Sticker” ideas he stole from right-wing radio jerks.

    I know Darren asked us Not to say anything Good about Blogging, But, I have to take a second to say that until I discovered Darren’s Photography Blog, and then Pro-Blogger, I felt that the whole blogging universe was just a chaotic jumble of Dog-Eat-Dog competition, or was something that you had to pay to have decent promotion, or to have any help. “31 Days to a Better Blog” changed my entire approach to my Blog, and Blogging in general, and I refer back to it on a weekly basis, and do an exercise when I’m out of ideas or inspiration !

  25. I don’t like the fact that it takes ages of work and dedication to get popular, and to get regular users that visit your blog daily.

  26. My biggest beef is that its turning into the next Internet Marketing platform. I don’t believe traditional squeeze pages are as effective but rather having a blog for the sole purpose of thinking its the best, easiest and quickest way to make a fortune.

    The blogs are going to get saturated with crappy IM’ers and lose its significance.

  27. Martin says:

    Darren, hi,

    An interesting exercise, finding deficiencies in something you’re passionate about!

    I wrote a follow on article:

    http://www.wealthydragon.com/blog/2010/02/18/problems-with-blogging/

    Cheers,

    Martin.

  28. Barbsawyers says:

    Where to begin? My biggest complaint is bloggers who provide long lists instead of analysing the topic and focusing on what’s important. My second biggest is the pressure to post every day. Where did this rule come from?

  29. Paul Germana says:

    Pro Blogger ROCKS

  30. Aglolink says:

    For me, I use blogging as an aspiration and desire of life that has not materialized, no more than what the objectives and interests.

  31. there’s nothing wrong with blogging, i think.

  32. It’s still seen by the masses as nerdy, navel gazing and amateurish.

    I’m not saying it is by any means, but that’s how the average man or woman on the street sees it.

  33. Samantha M. says:

    I agree with a lot of the comments here, it would be nice if blogging software/applications was easier to master, I want to write words not code..

    I compare it to using a microwave, I know how to make it do the things I want it to do ie heat food I don’t need to know how the heck it makes microwaves and does whatever it does to food atoms to make the food hot. Yet with blogging it feels like you have to master so much extraneous information before you can make your blog look visually appealing and get it on Google.

    Another problem I have is with some peoples attitudes online. So many people feel compelled to hammer down the nails that stick up. If someone does well with a blog, someone somewhere will start some sort of big old hate campaign against them. Its as if people online feel on persons success somehow takes away from them and as blogs and blogging has become more about money and marketing it seems to me its gotten worse.

  34. Ithamar Fenerson says:

    There is nothing wrong with blogging as a medium.

    People are social creatures, so blogging is a great opportunity for people to express themselves, to be heard, to feel appreciated, to make a difference, to grow and learn.

    The most fascinating aspect of blogging is that no matter what you write about, you will a lot of people who think like you do.

    The problem boils down to why people blog.

    Blogging used to be pure in the sense that people started a blog to just be able to communicate with others, to share ideas, information, and expose themselves to new ideas, philosophies and cultures.

    We are now seeing a rise in the commercial, monetization aspect of it. You can’t help but notice the millions of rags to riches stories of how people were out of work, struggling, in debt and now they are living their dream life only working a few hours a week.

    With the world’s economy in turmoil, these stories are like catnip to a cat. Who doesn’t want to make more money?

    I couldn’t help but chuckle at the above posts where people were complaining about traffic, bad info, millions of blogs, mass marketing, but put links to their sites at the end.

    Two reasons for our present situation:

    1) People wanting all the rewards without none of the responsibility. We want the millions of dollars, but don’t want to put in the millions of hours. So people try to take shortcuts, deceive, and manipulate to see results quicker.Making money on the Internet is a business and that alone translates into hard work. You have to love this business or you will fail. Like any business, you must build it a piece at a time. Those who have ever played RPG’s (Role-Playing-Games) like World of Warcraft should quickly see the similarity: You must create a character and make it stronger one level, one adventure, one kill at a time. There is no way around it. You have to pay your dues and be willing to commit the time, energy, and effort it takes to achieve monetary success blogging – and it takes all three.

    2) Those who achieved a certain degree of success taking advantage of those wanting to make money. How many systems are there for making money? Literally thousands! Now I’m all for a person making money on the Internet, writing books on how to make money on the Internet and selling them on their website or blog. But to charge thousands of dollars for information you can find for free, charging other people to market your product with the promise of getting future residual income from it, then sending them a letter telling them not to complain about paying the thousands of dollars is just plain exploitation (the above actually happened to me). But people are doing it on the Internet every day.

    Have you noticed that 99% of the complaints above all have to do with some way to make money faster?

    If you blog because you have a passion and want to reach others with that same passion, it will stand the test of time and regulate itself. Your numbers will steadily increase over time and you will be rewarded for your efforts.

    But if you are in it JUST for the money, then you will fall by the wayside like all the other ones before you.

    That’s whats really wrong with blogging.

  35. neonon says:

    Most blogs are vague and bland and don’t actually offer any useful information. Then, in the comments section, people post generic ass-kissing one liners just to get their websites linked.

    No offense, but even ProBlogger lacks in really telling what we want to know. For example, I was just reading a post about getting advertisers… of course you didn’t talk about how much a new blog should think about charging. Sure, anyone can say that’s because it’s all variable and depends on the blog, but that’s just a cop-out.

    In short, blogs have become another form of unauthentic BS. Especially blogging blogs. AND ESPECIALLY blogs that simply make “lists” every post.

    • Darren Rowse says:

      neonon – sorry you didn’t find the information you wanted – the problem is that on your very question there ARE in fact many variables. Ad rates vary so much from niche to niche.

      I personally would look at what you can earn from an ad network from AdSense in an ad position and then double it as your starting point for how much to charge and then work up from there.

  36. neonon says:

    I have to say you are pretty cool for replying to my comment so quickly. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    That still doesn’t change “what’s wrong with blogging”, which is too many BS posts and BS comments without substance just so the authors can work their way to a higher PR or subscriber list. The worst are the “Great site” comments with the ubiquitous return link, lmao.

    This very thing has made blogging so boring over the years.

  37. I wrote a post after reading Scott McLeod’s post on his blog about this topic. http://lauriefowler.blogspot.com/2010/02/whats-wrong-with-educational.html

    Laurie Fowler
    Tuscaloosa, AL

  38. mackie says:

    First, I have a art nude photography blog. I’m adding how-I-shoot articles and videos for starters.

    I would like to find a successful blogger (money-wise) to review my blog and content then make suggestions on how to improve and grow it the next level.

    Also, without charging $2500 to spend an hour or two doing a personal review. If I could afford those high fees, I wouldn’t need someone to do a review.

    As far as the wordpress script, I’ve been searching for a decent gallery that is a plugin, has a plain interface and standard features such as Coppermine. I personally dislike all the lightbox type features or having to login to separate scripts just to view images.

    mackie – figureshooter.com – nudes of modern women

  39. Paul Germana says:

    Anyone should be able to bring traffic to their website, blog or affiliate page simply by getting out and visiting other blogs, commenting on those blogs and leaving their link as they go. This creates more & more back links as they progress on. Unfortunately, just hopping from blog to blog defies relevancy when you come across other blogs that are not related to your niche, (affiliate marketing, cooking, auto repair, etc.) Therefore keyword research is absolutely necessary in order to pinpoint numerous blogs where you can identify and create interactive link popularity. I am happy to share this with anyone, anytime.

  40. Jean Tower says:

    What’s wrong with blogging? Those local news blogs that allow anonymous comments and those commenting who hide behind their anonymity to post nasty, vitriolic opinions. These local news blogs happen all over the country with similar nasty comments. These give blogging a bad name.

  41. CrisisMaven says:

    I totally agree, the blog phenomenon is probably a technical platform for what people used to rant about in their local pub about, however, doing it under the shroud of anonymity they can use much fouler language than if they must fear being overheard by their local church members …

  42. vanzari auto says:

    Not bad blogging itself. It is bad what some of us mean by bloging. Our news is read by many people and they should be well informed not misinformed.

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  45. Joanna says:

    Hrmm that was weird, my comment got eaten. Anyway I wanted to say that it’s nice to know that someone else also mentioned this as I had trouble finding the same info elsewhere. This was the first place that told me the answer. Thanks.

  46. vegas says:

    I’ve got this inter-school environmental speaking competition. My school’s taking part, and I’m the key speaker. I’m alright with speaking, but I’m soooo nervous >< I'm worried I won't learn it right because when I make a mistake I tend to say words that shouldn't be heard over the microphone in front of 50 other schools and 4 judges =X!