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20071013 Saturday October 13, 2007

When Is A Blog Not A Blog?

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised There are blogs that don't take comments (like this one: I don't have time to moderate spam). There are mainstream media sites that are adopting reader comments. There are blogs being published by independent companies with editorial staff. There are big media organizations publishing columns and event streams as blogs. So I'm finding myself asking some basic questions about blogging of late: Is it an indication of maturation or mutation of the blogosphere that there's quibbling about what's a blog and what isn't? Is main stream media's co-opting of blogospheric mores a harbinger of a thermador to some un-televised revolution? Has the little town become too much of a metropolis that twitter, facebook and other social media are the destinations of urban flight?

The basic existential questions of the blogosphere and where its boundaries reside have been open to consideration (and re-consideration) for quite some time. Not a day goes by on the Technorati support forums without a splogger showing up to complain that their spam isn't getting indexed (Note: I'm not saying everyone who has indexing problems is a spammer, I'm saying spammers come rolling in to complain about it). A few weeks ago, Scoble melodramatically lamented that the TechMeme leaderboard heralds the death of blogging":

I was just looking at the TechMeme Top 100 List and noticed that it has very few bloggers on it. I can only see about 12 real blogs on that list. Blogging being defined as 'single voice of a person.' Most of the things on the list are now done by teams of journalists - that isn't blogging anymore in my book.
It's true, a lot of the many of the successful blogs have a prolific editorial staff. But death? Really? Why is blogging as an individual practice more or less than blogging as part of a collaborative enterprise? The existence of the weblogsincs, gawkers and huffington posts of the world are manifestations of blogging as a format but are from what I can tell are no less or more blogs than any others. New blogs continue to be created every second, and some of them will eventually develop thriving audiences.

The line between micropublishing and macropublishing is blurring. Reuters recently announced they they're taking comments on stories and Ally Insider's revelation that the New York Times is posting reader comments got a lot of play. In his post about Technorati rankings, Doug Karr doesn't feel that CNN Political Ticker should be considered a blog. So I'm asking myself, when is a blog not a blog?

Sometimes blogs (the narrower Scoble definition kind) provide the primary source for the facts of our times. Other times, it's main stream media that is bringing forth those facts. As the emergence of blogs that operate like main stream media continues and main stream media adopts blogging as a technology and practice, perhaps this is the ultimate outcome of a leveled publishing playing field: changes will flow along many vectors, cross bred practices are inevitable and Darwinistic rules will prevail such that a lot of things that you'd previously not have considered blogs are morphing into them.


( Oct 13 2007, 11:22:11 PM PDT ) Permalink