Shut It Down, The Party’s Over?

Feb 2, 2011 by

Via Romenesko’s Twitter feed, I get a possible sign that blogging is passe, that the wheat has already been separated from the chaff and we (supposed) pajama’d virtual masses oughta just give it up:

In his November farewell post, after a five-year stint on the Atlantic blog, Marc Ambinder wrote that it will be a relief to head to the National Journal, where he will feel no compulsion to turn every piece into the opinion of “a web-based personality called ‘Marc Ambinder’ that people read because it’s ‘Marc Ambinder,’ rather than because it’s good or interesting.”

“You’re competitive in terms of getting something first, and then you’re competitive on getting a take that is close to the truth so much as it can be approximated, and then you’re competitive in building and keeping an influential and broad-based readership,” Mr. Ambinder told The Observer, speaking with exhaustion of his time on the Web.

With the Jason Kottkes and Andrew Sullivans already established and still working, he added, it’s become increasingly difficult to carve out a niche.

“We’re at a stage now where that market is saturated, so it’s the long tail phenomenon. We’re getting to the point where it’s really, really hard once you start, unless you’re a phenomenon or something,” he said.

Okay, the caveats:  they’re talking about blogs as marketing tools and moneymakers in themselves, as well as presenters of possible platforms for an opinion writer’s and journalist’s career advancement to gain greater heights.  The speculation regarding where weblogs could possibly take people in terms of finances, power, and influence dogs every new venture’s beginnings – but it doesn’t necessarily mean that, in the case of blogs, WordPress, Blogger, or TypePad will be closing their virtual doors anytime soon.  It simply means that online publications are not taking on every voice they can get to augment their reader stats anymore…which is kinda sad, but it’s a consequence of the selectivity finally coming into play through the online mainstream, a recognition that not everybody with a URL is a journalist or a writer.  Also, for many, trying to be creative at the pace of the interwebs is akin to something Esther Dyson once touched upon about the pace of things in this age of information and technology – one year of working in this environment can easily feel like two or three.

So, yeah, considering all of that, blogging is no longer much of a fun walk in one’s flannels.

But for the rest of us yahoos who still maintain our blogs…we’ve still got something to say.  Most of what I regularly read and occasionally discover is still pretty darned good.  I’m not seeing as much in the way of comments anymore, but some of that is due to Facebook and Twitter siphoning off that interactivity, not to mention the presence of a regular readership that is already pretty familiar with my voice.  I find Facebook and Twitter limiting, though, much as I love ’em.  As long as these blogging platforms keep giving me and others like me space on their servers for bupkis, I’m gonna be using it, because I still love doing this and, for the time being, turning my personal posting spigot off is seriously difficult.

If you love doing this, too, keep doing it.  If you can’t hold back, don’t.  And if you wanna contribute your unique New Orleans voice to us, let us know.  It ain’t over until we decide it is.*


*Hey, it is Carnival time.  Perfect season for giant cake floats.

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