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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Old and New; Fake and Real

Well, I managed to get myself back to the blogopshere just in time for my blog's third anniversary. Feb 21, 2002 was launch day for these humble pages. I had no idea what to expect. Urged on by the likes of Jeneane Sessum, inspired by the likes of David Weinberger, I dipped my toes into the water--despite harboring suspicions that this blog business was just the latest fad, destined to give way as bloggers moved on with their lives, as they inevitably would. As it turns out, some of that is actually happening, but more about that later in the post.

Little did I realize in early '02 that those of us engaging in this medium were actually a relatively small vanguard of a tidal wave that was yet to come. Yes, it's great that everyone is blogging these days, but I have some sympathy for those starting out in the current environment if they're at all interested in reaching an audience of any size. It must be much more difficult now than back in '02.

So many of the newer blogs are just fronts for promotions of whatever the "blogger" is hoping to profit from--employing whatever clever search engine optimizing techniques he or she can devise.

In this insincere, self-serving atmosphere, I think it's incumbent upon us (scratch "incumbent." I forgot. There are no rules in blogging) ---Re-stated: It would be desirable if we made some effort to seek and point out new bloggers who are the genuine article.

Oh, screw it. This is sounding elitist. What I'm trying to say is that I'm going to begin to make some effort to find newer blogs that I like and give'em a mention. I hope many of my readers will do the same. Many already do. It just seems to me that the new guys may need more of a boost than we did when we started out.

Speaking of early bloggers, it's hard to think of one who's been at the game longer than Justin Hall--ten years at least. The term "blog" didn't even exist when he got underway. Justin, the San Francisco Chronicle reports in a front page article, has called it quits.

I find it a bit weird to be coming back just when Hall and others are splitsville, and exits seem to be the dominant story of the day. Sheila Lennon emails me, "I hope you're reversing a trend." Well, Sheila, could be. Blog notable Rebecca Blood, quoted in the same article, observes:

" 'You know, the struggle to maintain relationships when you are heavily involved in a project isn't specific to Justin or to other bloggers. Ninety-nine percent of everything that goes on in the Internet happens in the real world. History is filled with examples of people's passions conflicting with work. When you throw yourself into something, it can be difficult to maintain relationships.'

Throwing yourself in relationships, though, can be as unsustainable as focusing all your energy on work, which is why Blood and others think that Hall will return.

'The trend I think we're going to see more and more in the future is people leaving and coming back,' Blood said."

As for profiting from one's blogging, to quote Jerry Seinfeld, "not that there's anything wrong with that." Chris Locke has been doing it from day one--although given his recent difficulties, He might well take issue with the term "profit," but you get my drift.

Dervala Hanley got a recent job offer from some people who discovered her blog and were astute enough to recognize what a prize catch she would be.

And, as I recently observed to Jeneane Sessum, if I were still in my agency days, I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot some biz her way--just on the strength of her blog. I wouldn’t even have to see her portfolio.

These examples, of course, are a far cry from the search engine hucksters trying to hijack this medium. Meanwhile, lend a hand to those new guys--the good ones, that is. And if you know any lapsed bloggers, see if they're open to being nudged back in. Frank Paynter and Jeneane took the trouble to do that with me and, guess what, it worked.

Post Script: To celebrate my anniversary. I finally got around to getting a site feed. I may be slow as molasses, but I do catch up eventually. Anyway, if you want to subscribe to the feed, just click my shiny new Bloglines button at the bottom of my links.

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