Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why Blogging Still Rules (and why reports about blogging having peaked are wrong)

The latest Pew survey shows that people of all demographics are using the internet more than ever. Nothing surprising, you will say. But, the survey also reports that less people are blogging.

1. Only half as many online teens work on their own blog as did in 2006, and Millennial generation adults ages 18-33 have also seen a modest decline-a development that may be related to the quickly-growing popularity of social network sites.

2. ...blogging's popularity increased among most older generations, and as a result the rate of blogging for all online adults rose slightly overall from 11% in late 2008 to 14% in 2010.

Some observations:

1. If blogging is really a preserve of old people, then that is a good thing.
They have experienced life. Writing brings catharsis. We want to share.

2. Nothing beats blogging your experience.
If you have less to say on a topic, use Twitter, which is the new blog for some. Otherwise, nothing beats blogging. (Unless you are someone like Jay Rosen, the master of Mindcasting.)

Read this story in the Guardian about why people blog about their sickness. An expert says,
"Writing is an effective way of processing and coming to terms with challenging and potentially traumatic events," he says. "But blogging is more than the mere act of writing. It also fosters senses of both control and social connection, each of which is crucial for psychological wellbeing."

3. Twittering is not about cool.
Earlier, it used to be that blogging was cool. Nerds used to blog.

People like Jason Kottke, Dave Winer, David Weinberger, Jeff Jarvis, Rebecca Blood, Andrew Sullivan, Robert Scoble, Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Om Malik and even Michael Arrington made their names as breakthrough bloggers, people who could construct good pieces on writing on a regular basis about their chosen domains, generating a sizeable following and positive brand value along the way.

People created bonafied publishing empires out of blogging. Major news brands have teams of writers blogging for them. It is another matter that for various business considerations, the premier blogging empire Gawker is adopting a magazine-type look.

Other than Jay Rosen, and some funny one-liner specialists, I don't see any Twitter superstar. Correct me if I am wrong.

4. Blogging is still the only way of building your brand in your industry.
I agree that curating news links on Twitter is useful but nothing beats being able to structure your analysis about an important industry issue through a blog. Nothing beats a detailed interview about how your industry works, via a blog post. Nothing beats a weekly roundup of major news stories about your industry. Nothing beats writing about the truths about your industry. If you don't, you are chicken.

Labels: ,

Monday, December 20, 2010

Study shows bad TV news makes us stupid

A polling outfit affiliated with the University of Maryland asked 616 people whether they believed factually false assertions, such as "my taxes have gone up under Obama" (in reality, taxes have gone down). The pollsters found out that the chances of a polled person believing falsehoods increased in proportion to that person's time spent viewing Fox News (a right-wing news channel in the United States) , in contrast to watching other 'liberal/more objective' news channels, like CNN.

Some observations:
1. Which is true? Does bad TV news makes people stupid or Do stupid people watch bad news TV?
It is very tempting to arrive at judgments. All I can think of at the moment is that when people watch bad news TV or bad TV in general, it is because they do not know what real good TV/news TV looks like. Perhaps they have been living a frog's life in a muddy well.

2. What are the other side effect of bad news TV?
Besides the ability to make or break politicians and businessmen, bad news TV (or TV in general) is helping seed the 'Celeb-Universe' - Everyone on TV is a star; every star is a superstar; every superstar is a megastar; every news item is a breaking news item, and so on. Are we losing the ability to judge what it is to be 'really good'?


A lament for journalists

Rebecca Rose, who calls herself a 'piss poorly underpaid/underemployed reporter' writes a lament for journalists of the world (actually a comment). Barkha Dutt should read this:

Nobody ever told me that I was going to be a billionaire covering the fucking news, OK? My career counselor didn't show me pictures of Ferraris when I asked what a journalist's life was like. Dammit!
...STOP SELLING OUT THE PROFESSION!! You are the reason why people think that the media is biased! You're the reason why no one trusts the news anymore, and why they have to turn to assclowns like Andrew Breitbart and James O'Keefe. Because you guys are giving the rest of us a bad name. You are why my friends roll their eyes in skepticism every time the media tries to break an important news story. You're why people react with doubt when the press tries to actually inform the public about something that needs to change. You're why. YOU ARE WHY.

Also read: What is good journalism?


Co-working in Delhi: The Jelly Meet Idea

Jelly Meet is a fast-growing co-working movement that started in New York. One of the co-founders Amit Gupta is a successful serial entrepreneur. The Jelly Meet idea basically involves arranging a place where people can work - no rents involved. Just bring your laptop/netbook. Ideal for freelancers, bloggers, developers etc.

The Delhi version of Jelly Meets happens every Wednesday at the Cafe Oz in Khan market. A complete list of Jelly Meets around the world can be found here.

For more about the Delhi Jelly Meet, Read this article in the Indian Express.

This is something I have always wanted to arrange in context of my startup Bighow, getting bloggers and journalists to meet twice/thrice a week in a comfortable, easily accessible location. Until this happens, I will try to check out Jelly Meet. Perhaps you should too.

Labels: ,