There’s been some amazing reaction and discussion around Blogging 2.0 in the last 24 hours. I don’t mean to write on the topic every day, but there is one aspect I didn’t tackle in the earlier post that others have raised: blogging 2.0’s affect on professional bloggers.
One argument against blogging 2.0 is that in taking the conversation away from blogs exclusively, professional blogging will become extinct, on the presumption that blogging 2.0 reduces page views.
Old models die hard
There is no argument that the traditional blogging 1.0 professional blogging model around maximizing a blog as the center of the conversation is a model that has served blogging and professional bloggers extremely well. But it’s a model that pre-dates the rise of social networks and really Web 2.0 itself (blogging was co-opted into being a part of the 2.0 movement, but its functionality is older). Blogging 1.0 has revolved around insular communities in walled gardens, with nothing other than the occasional link out or pingback as any recognition of a greater conversation.
The reality is that Web 2.0 is finally catching up to blogging. The walled gardens of singular blogs are making way to social interaction across multiple platforms.
The traffic equation
Those against blogging 2.0 argue that enabling the conversation across multiple platforms results in less traffic to the originating site, diminishing returns on advertising and therefore threatening the viability of those sites. The short argument is that blogging 2.0 kills professional blogging.
The argument would seem to be based on a lack of understanding of the possibilities blogging 2.0 provides. Embracing blogging 2.0 may result in some short term traffic loss (anecdotaly, but I cant back this up with figures), but over the medium to long term it actually drives new readers and new traffic to a site. Take for example two services I’m using now: FriendFeed and Disqus. Neither republish content in full and instead provide new traffic to any site using them. We don’t argue that Digg is killing professional blogging despite Digg having comments and links back; FriendFeed offers a similar service, with popularity based around comment activity, as opposed to direct voting.
The Shyftr Exception
There is one service I have some concerns with in terms of blogging 2.0 and professional blogging, and that’s Shyftr. I have deep reservations about a service that republishes content from other sites in full then builds a conversation around that content without feeding back. FriendFeed was doing something similar when it launched and they quickly switched back to links as people protested against the practice. Ultimately it is all about the user, but enabling a conversation across many platforms should be an inclusive experience that is beneficial to all involved. Blogging 2.0 shouldn’t be to the detriment of one party (the original content creator), where as Shyftr is a walled garden that benefits from the efforts of others without giving back; it’s a wolf in blogging 2.0 clothing and in another age we would have called it a splog and DMCA’d it.
The new age of professional blogging
If blogging is evolving, so is professional blogging. The age of the professional blogger has not passed, and we will see new stars emerge in the blogosphere, but the path to success is changing. If blogging 2.0 is all about enabling the conversation across many blogs and supporting sites and services, professional blogging 2.0 means engaging in those conversation as well as seeding them. The build it and they will come age has passed (not only in blogging but more and more with all 2.0 services), tomorrows A-List professional blogging class will not only be creating original content, they’ll be engaging in conversations across the blogosphere on the many emerging blogging 2.0 platforms we are now seeing. The us and them model of traditional publishing is dead, tomorrows A-List are probably on FriendFeed and Disqus now engaging their readers and contributing to the conversation.
Footnote: I understand that Shyftr is trying to build a new model and I give them credit for that, and some may take these comments as being unduly harsh, but the model needs work because ideally this new wave of blogging shouldn’t punish or take from others to benefit one service. True distribution and engaged content sharing, and the benefits there in can and should be enjoyed by all.