A golden milestone to mark a decade

milestoneThe Golden Age of tech blogging is over, says Jeremiah Owyang in his post on December 27.

[…] Like the film industry, the Golden Era is the emergence period, when fresh innovation in a new medium is born. New techniques, revolutionary content, and different business models emerge as innovators pioneer a new medium.

He cites four trends to support his view:

  1. Corporate acquisitions stymie innovation – reference in particular to AOL’s acquisition of TechCrunch in 2010, shoe-horning TechCrunch into Huffington Post control following AOL’s acquisition of that publisher earlier this year, and the nuclear fallout between them all in recent months.
  2. Tech blogs are experiencing major talent turnover – reference to exoduses at ReadWriteWeb, Mashable and TechCrunch.
  3. The audience needs have changed, they want: faster, smaller, and socialthe attention crunch (as defined by Steve Rubel) combined with Ben Metcalfe‘s take (that resonates strongly with me): “There are just so many blogs/news websites/sources vying for your attention that you can’t read them all and build up the kind of relationship that you once could when the size of the universe was degrees of magnitude smaller.”
  4. As space matures, business models solidify, giving room for new disruptors – the blogosphere continues to evolve.

Jeremiah’s fourth trend speaks specifically to his assertion of the passing of a moment: the Golden Age is over, a point he makes pretty clearly in the opening paragraphs in his post.

I agree with that assertion and the overall sentiment of Jeremiah’s post, considering it as defining a milestone period following the emergence of accessible technology tools in the early 2000s that enabled anyone with an opinion, a means to type, an internet connection to express that opinion and a public place on the web to publish it – you have Pyra Labs to thank for that kick start – which led to the Golden Age of which he speaks.

However, I would extend it way beyond tech blogging to embrace all blogging. Indeed, trends three and four unquestionably apply to other areas of online written expression in business and commerce as well as hint at new means of communicating and sharing opinion on the social web

So where does this milestone, this marker on the road, place us today a decade (roughly) on from that kick start I mentioned?

Some, like Brian Solis – Jeremiah’s colleague at Altimeter Group – think that what’s changing is the players, not the game. Marshall Kirkpatrick – one of the social web’s most authoritative voices – offers credible opinion on three things that could help make the new era of tech blogging even better than the last one. Bernie Goldbach speaks of a big distinction between the era of blogging and the era of social media.

These and others are all terrific opinions, offering great perspectives on disruptive change that continues and will evolve in ways we can’t accurately predict.

We’ve just passed one milestone, one marker. At the moment, it’s hard to tell where the next one is.

In the meantime, keep talking, articulating your opinions, sharing your content, good or bad (as perceived by others). You’ll be a key part of defining what comes next.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. John Cass

    I think something is happening. Though I’m not sure I’d agree with Jeremiah on every point. Especially point 3… people certainly want news in an easily digestible format, but when it comes to really understanding a topic, I think people are prepared for more content. Look at the experiments with pay walls with media, that’s not an effort to give less content, but more. Rather the effort to move to social is I think more about people wanting to control or have easy access to conversations in the medium they use. If you use facebook and Twitter, you’d rather discuss a topic there than on a blog post.

    • Neville Hobson

      Point 3 and Ben Metcalfe’s words resonated most with me. The sheer volume out there – both people and content – makes it ever more challenging to give your attention to things that matter most to you, whether they’re tweets or essays.

      People and content are only going to increase and so you need to find effective ways to filter and deal with the attention crunch that Steve Rubel speaks of.

      So maybe when anyone speaks of a golden age (deliberately lower case) from now on, we can think of our own golden age, relating to what matters to each of us.

      Relish the challenges!

      • John Cass

        Neville, yes, that is the change that I think Jeremiah very well identifies, there is change, and there are challenges for individuals and marketers in how we manage those challenges. That is both a stumbling block, and exciting.

  2. Jeremiah Owyang

    Thanks for adding to the thoughtful conversation Neville. It’s been interesting, I see folks agreeing with some, all, or none. There’s a lot to think about, and I’m glad the industry is talking. Thanks John, we’ve different forms of media for different purposes now, one thing is for sure, one size does not fit all.

    • John Cass

      No indeed, Jeremiah.. while I’d certainly agree with you that people prefer to converse on social… I’d argue is actually a better format for longer form content. And that with the volume of short content that’s now available, longer form content is now more valuable. Look at your own blog. You still blog there, and the length of posts makes it an appropriate place to write articles.

      Does your audience want to converse on the blog however, there I’m with you, I think if they have an active twitter account, or FB site, they would much rather have the conversation there than on your blog.

      Perhaps the golden age of blog commenting is over…

  3. Armin

    I would argue that a lot of this does indeed mainly apply to tech blog and to an extent other “crowded topic” blogs. There are hundreds of them, if not thousands. And each of them wants to be the next Techcrunch/Mashable/takeyourpick. And if Scoble (who seems to change platforms more often than others their underwear) claims he gets more reactions in these new platforms, I don’t find that surprising either. His fanclub follows him around. Get out of your bubble.

    As soon as you move to the niche blogs I feel the picture changes quite quickly. Much much fewer players. Usually only a handful, if that. Many attempts to start a blog, the vast majority lasting may be a six months to a year, then they either vanish or significantly reduce their output. Simply because they realise blogging is very hard work.

    However, those who last I feel are now starting to reap the rewards (not necessarily financially, but more in other ways). The knowledge about blogs has spread way beyond the internet crowd and “ordinary people” are reading and even commenting/contributing to them. A friend of mine is running the Islay Birds blog about birdwatching and -sightings on Islay. He’s seeing more and more responses, an ever expanding number of people (including visitors to Islay) sending in their sightings for him to publish.

    This all takes place outside of the big corporate world, paid blogging and AOL style takeovers, but I feel is much bigger than many people realise. And people are looking to them for information the established media just doesn’t give them.

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