Posted in: Technology

The Changing Blogosphere and Blogging 2.0


Is blogging today fundamentally different to blogging five years ago? It’s a topic some smart people have been discussing recently. Darren Rowse bemoans the loss of relational focus where blogs have become more selfish in their participation in the broader community. Richard McManus notes that professional blogging reflects the mainstream media, including the negatives, in what he calls Mixed Messages in The Blogging Landscape.

It’s easy to be sentimental about “the good old days” of blogging, and I could wax lyrical about the community spirit that has seemingly been lost as blogging has grown up. Without being able to quote empirical evidence, take it as a given that the collective sense of community once shared by all bloggers in no longer. This is not to say that community doesn’t exist, but it has become fractured, splintered into group silos where most of the outward linking has been replaced by cross linking within a clique or no linking at all, where trolling has become an acceptable practice, and where the focus of shared experiences have been replaced by the differences that keep us apart.

Mark Rizzn Hopkins notes in a post today that opposition to Blogging 2.0 may be reflective of a more selfish blogosphere. I’ve written a fair bit about Blogging 2.0 previously here at The Inquisitr, but I don’t believe I’ve ever looked at the reasons why Blogging 2.0 has emerged.

Blogging 2.0 is the blogosphere’s first counterculture movement

The origins of blogging go back to pages of shared links highlighting great content outside of the site itself. Over time blogging evolved from outward links into points of content, and the linking ethos that shared traffic outwards was replaced by a culture that focused on inward links. Blogs as a destination for content became focused on pageviews, most often linked to driving advertising, and profit. Blogging as a unselfish act of sharing turned into a self-focused milk every pageview play, with a strong focus on search engine traffic. If in 2003 I had accurately written about what blogs would be like in 2008, I would have been laughed at, the shift in 5 years has been that dramatic.

Blogging 2.0 runs counter to the prevailing ethos in blogging, which is maximize your Google juice, your page views, your links in, and refrain from sharing that traffic with others, without putting the end user first. Blogging 1.0 is all about maximizing the opportunities for the blog owner while ignoring community, where as blogging 2.0 maximizes the experience for the end user (reader).

In focusing on the experience for the end user, via linking, sharing and enabling the conversation across many places, blogging 2.0 rallies against today’s accepted norms.

Embracing Blogging 2.0 isn’t costly

Giving up accepted norms to embrace a counterculture is never easy, and yet embracing Blogging 2.0 doesn’t mean having to give up traffic and comments. See my May piece on Blogging 2.0 and Professional Blogging. The short version: services like Disqus actually encourage more commenting, creating a richer environment for you blog. FriendFeed can help your content be discovered and drive traffic.

Conclusion: Viva la revolution

No counterculture evolved without an unmet need. Blogging 2.0 seeks to fill the void left by the evolution of blogging into a format that no longer focuses primarily on community, a less friendly space. Blogging 2.0 tools are still evolving and emerging to fill this void, and we are still fairly early in to the process. The growing popularity of everything from Twitter through to FriendFeed, Disqus and many other fine services show that people are seeking a change for the better. The counter revolution of Blogging 2.0 has just begun.

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13 Responses to “The Changing Blogosphere and Blogging 2.0”

  1. igorthetroll

    Duncan the Social Media networks broke all boundaries of Blogging! Before you had to have a popular Blog like TechCrunch to make a statement, today it is all about synergy and connecting with your followers!

    One does not need a HiveThink mass to be relevant. An active and prominent micro community listening to what you have to say and spreading the gospel is much more desirable!

    Werewolf! Enlightened minority is more powerful than ignorant majority! The Revolution!

  2. ChangeForge

    Duncan, you speak to something very interesting… the viral effect of social mediums. I wonder, however, if this brings quantity – not quality, as I fear many in the social media space are simply looking to build their bank of followers and dish scoop!

  3. qthrul

    Are we so unimaginative that we are relegated to version numbering for emerging social and technology trends?

    Why not call it the wide personal broadcasting movement: a period of time and the tools of this period that reflected a desire to allow personal broadcasting in variety of formats previously afforded to a select elite.

    Pre-dating this period is the select personal broadcasting movement, the wide publishing movement, the select publishing movement, and the era of traditional journalism and communications.

    Post-dating this period will be the era of latency diminished narrow publishing, the era of latency diminished wide publishing, and finally — the great anti-posterity revolution in which nobody wants to share or broadcast anything that is not uniquely personal to their own proximity.

  4. Duncan Riley

    To some extent, true Robert. There are always people who love to produce content. But that community of old is coming back. 2.0 is, admittedly, a convenient label, but I can find no other way of labelling the tools and the move we are currently seeing.

  5. Rishi Seth

    I think Blogging is becoming much like what the dotcom's were in the early part of 2000. Booming left right and centre without knowing what problem they are solving and why will they exist for the long term. Blogging community needs to stop looking at it as a way to make money but more towards how it can overcome today's challenges.

    That is when some truely useful things will come out of this – else i see this becoming a digital personal diary more than anything else

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