Argues Paul Boutin in Wired:
Thinking about launching your own blog? Here’s some friendly advice: Don’t. And if you’ve already got one, pull the plug.
Writing a weblog today isn’t the bright idea it was four years ago. The blogosphere, once a freshwater oasis of folksy self-expression and clever thought, has been flooded by a tsunami of paid bilge. Cut-rate journalists and underground marketing campaigns now drown out the authentic voices of amateur wordsmiths. It’s almost impossible to get noticed, except by hecklers. And why bother? The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.
If you quit now, you’re in good company. Notorious chatterbox Jason Calacanis made millions from his Weblogs network. But he flat-out retired his own blog in July. “Blogging is simply too big, too impersonal, and lacks the intimacy that drew me to it,” he wrote in his final post.
Impersonal is correct: Scroll down Technorati’s list of the top 100 blogs and you’ll find personal sites have been shoved aside by professional ones. Most are essentially online magazines: The Huffington Post. Engadget. TreeHugger. A stand-alone commentator can’t keep up with a team of pro writers cranking out up to 30 posts a day.
When blogging was young, enthusiasts rode high, with posts quickly skyrocketing to the top of Google’s search results for any given topic, fueled by generous links from fellow bloggers. In 2002, a search for “Mark” ranked Web developer Mark Pilgrim above author Mark Twain. That phenomenon was part of what made blogging so exciting. No more. Today, a search for, say, Barack Obama’s latest speech will deliver a Wikipedia page, a Fox News article, and a few entries from professionally run sites like Politico.com. The odds of your clever entry appearing high on the list? Basically zero.
Read the whole thing.
He seems a bit overly pessimistic to me.
I think election year fatigue can be observed right now, and a lot of Right bloggers are understandably depressed. I’ve found it impossible to get a link from any of the big time blogs for a long time now, and have nearly completely stopped emailing any of them. Still, traffic tends to creep upward slowly. And NYM postings do come up high on Google fairly regularly.
I disagree with Boutin. Innovative and amusing blogging concepts, like Stuff White People Like, can still very rapidly gain a major audience, and even we boutique bloggers, aiming at a more sophisticated and inevitably limited readership, are able to attract a few thousand readers per diem. Professional group blogs don’t bother me a bit.