Many Blogs Are Now on Death Row

Magazines? What are those? We are living in a time when digital media reigns supreme. If you’re like me, you likely subscribe or follow several blogs to get your daily fill of news and information. If you want to know the news before it is on television, you no doubt follow blogs.

The way we get our news has dramatically changed. I was struck by a comment Google CEO Eric Schmidt made recently when he said that every two days more content is created on the Internet than was created from the early days of civilization until 2003. Blogs are great because they give any John or Jane Doe the ability to voice their opinion, share their experiences or break exclusive news. The blogging platform continues to flourish and has been strengthened by the release of the iPad, e-Readers, and the yet to be released generation of Internet tablets. These devices will help blogs continue to gain popularity and triumph over traditional news outlets and print sources.

There are many blogs that I trust more than a reputable television network. The best blogs contain news and information from people with first-hand experience; the content created by these blogs flows from the passion and interests the authors have in the subject matter. However, because there are so many voices, blogs are now forced to become better or fade away. According to a 2006 CNET News article, a post from four years ago, a new blog is born every half second. New methods of enjoying digital content are making it even easier for any person with an opinion to have a voice and reach an audience.

Recently, Flipboard introduced an iPad application that puts your Twitter, Facebook, or other feeds into a print-like format. It literally takes you friend’s tweets and turns them into a beautiful, digital magazine. Another popular app is Pulse from Alphonso Labs. Their recent teaming with posterous, the simplest blog publication site on the Internet, allows readers to create their own “pulse” of news and information. The Pulse app, like Flipboard, subscribes to the sources you desire, but it also allows you to reshare your favorite stories in a “pulse” or blog-like format. The Pulse app makes it so easy to share news and information that you don’t even need to create and author your own blog posts.

It’s no secret that many blogs exist simply as a hub of redirected news. Take a look at Engadget, one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet. Yes, they do have quite a bit of their own original content, but the majority of the stories they feature are simply re-posts, articles that were originally published elsewhere. Engadget is successful because of their original content, but mostly because they are very good at finding and re-posting stories which their readers will find interesting. The same is true of Gizmodo and other popular blogs.

I’m finding these days that I’m actually following more people rather than blogs. I find an author whose style and opinion I agree with, follow them on Twitter, and read their posts through my favorite app. These apps enable me, the reader, to find the information I care the most about. No longer do I need a site to filter my content. I can do it myself.

Apps such as Flipboard and and Pulse are forcing these sites, blogs that simply re-post information, onto death row. Rather than rehash and link to stories published elswhere, the changes brought forth by these apps require that blogs have heart, passion and offer first-hand experiences in order to survive. Blogs that will endure must have original content if they expect to compete with the slowly growing but now audible heartbeat developing from the many pulses that exist. Twitter, Flipboard, and Pulse are currently the greatest threat blogs face.

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Additional resources:
You can view my very young pulse by visiting http://dilloff.pulsememe.com/ and see how the Pulse app and posterous format my news stories of interest.

Here is an example of what a customized Flipboard looks like:

What are your thoughts on these new, creative ways to get your news? Are blogs really on death row? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo credit: Kate Rhodes (masukomi, Flickr CC).

Comments

  1. GTaylor says

    Matt, this is exactly what I find difficult to deal with on the internet, lack of verifiability or accountability.
    Just a step back. Before all of this (that we now have) there was common everyday talk and common knowledge. The next step up was generally accepted and published information. Then at the top was the cream of the published library of human knowledge. What this simple scale is attempting to show is that as a person tries to find better information on a given topic, they have to rely on sources that have to meet higher standards and principles, they are held accountable by society at large. Many people think that this old method of standards and practices for handling information was authoritarian and out of touch.
    I believe that the principles that worked to foster cooperation and interaction between human beings before the electronic and digital age apply just as well now. Devices change, people don’t.
    Authentication, corroboration, fact checking, context, and personal and organizational responsibility, are much more vital as society moves faster than when things crept along from one decade to the next. With out these protections there is no news, only gossip, rumor, superstition, and blind impulse.
    As one person said (before electricity was first controlled), “Life without manners would be brutish, ugly, and short.” I am afraid that by throwing off the restraints on irresponsible utterances previously held to by the best news organizations, society is diving headfirst into the deep end of the Information Dark Age, where there is no water or bottom.

    • GoodThings2Life says

      I completely agree with you! The problem I have with most of the blogs is the lack of verifiable, proven information and the total amount of garbage that exists. Eric says there’s so much information being produced now, but I think he’s wrong… it’s not production of information, it’s just regurgitation of information, and not at all held accountable for being accurate. Hence why you can search for information and be linked in a billion different, inappropriate directions.

      And while in my other post I mention that I like some centralized news sites and liken them to the nightly news and cable news, the presentation of both forms has changed to be more opinion/perspective driven than fact driven.

      Some people may argue that all information is based on perspective, but there are times in which facts are facts and perspective is irrelevant.

  2. GoodThings2Life says

    I actually liken Gizmodo and Engadget, etc. to being the new form of the nightly news broadcasts. I didn’t stop watching the nightly news because I didn’t like the accumulation of top stories, I stopped watching because it’s at a bad time of day, and I want the information NOW, not late evening… plus, I want MORE information.

    So as such, I don’t see sites like them going away, I just see people joining and leaving those sites for different ones that present the information in the form and viewpoints they like best. On the contrary, in fact, I see them being more like cable news channels.

  3. Mickey Segal says

    The problem of there being so many blogs that people don’t read them anymore is well addressed by Yogi Berra, who said “It’s so crowded, nobody goes there”.

    It is fitting to hear about this issue on a blog.

    The problem with following “people rather than blogs” is that this only works for people with one definable interest. Otherwise you find out all sorts of extraneous material about the person’s other interests. This approach is too much of a personality cult. And a single topic stream from someone is what people look for in a blog.

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