* Are Blogs Dead?

Are we really having conversations or just talking amongst ourselves?

My October 2006 “nothing.but.net” column that I wrote for the ABA is a challenge of sorts. I was critical of the ABA’s closed publishing scheme and praised the open blog model. Here’s a chunk of what I wrote:

I miss you, my audience. I miss getting feedback, by email or otherwise. I miss the interaction. I miss the conversation. And since there are only two reasons to keep doing this, love and money, I can only say, “Show me the love!” Read this article. Steal this article before it disappears into the archives. Forward it to a friend. Visit my weblog. Leave me feedback. Link to me so that I can link to you. Let’s show everyone what a people-powered conversation machine the Internet can be. Then, in December 2006, when this article goes into the ABA archives, check back on my weblog to see the results, to see what’s more powerful, a dynamic open web 2.0 or a static closed web 1.0.

My experiment is now five weeks old (counting from the date the print publication was delivered) and I’ve received one comment – and that was from somebody with whom I’d spoke about the issue in person.

So are blogs dead? Are we really having conversations or just talking amongst ourselves? Was Jeremy Zawodny correct when he said that the implementation of “nofollow” tag in weblog comments did nothing to stop comment spam but eliminated a real incentive for bloggers to comment on other blogs <http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/archives/006800.html>? What would our friends at Freakonomics say?

I’m getting 100,000 page views per month to erikjheels.com. So somebody (or something) is reading this site. So here’s an open letter to y’all:

Dear Blog Readers:

If you want me to keep writing my “nothing.but.net” column for the ABA, then you’ve got only three weeks left to make the case that blogs are not, in fact, dead. Comments on “Steal This Article” are open.


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13 Replies to “* Are Blogs Dead?”

  1. Greetings Kevin,

    Thanks for the comment. Just to clarify, I haven’t made any conclusions, I’ve merely asked a question.

    I’m surprised that nobody has addressed the “nofollow” issue. I think that’s huge.


  2. Nope, they ain’t dead. Blogs and the interaction and networking created thereby are more vibrant than ever.

    The comments saying most blogs are on life support are without any factual support. See David Sifry’s most recent State of the Blogosphere indicating the majority of blogs are kept current.

    Comments or lack thereof are not necessarily a sign of life. Most interaction takes place by you commenting about other posts in a post of your own and others doing the same.

    No doubt commenting on other blogs will draw traffic your way. Comes by referral links – I regularly get as well as the blog publisher gets to know me and vice versa. My commenting often leads to their writing about some of my posts and vice versa.

    Before wrongly concluding that blogs are dead, I’d take a look at what others are doing outside the law to make their blog a vibrant and interactive tool.

    Hundreds of non-lawyers at the Blog Business Summit two weeks found blogs more vibrant than ever. More than I ever I heard that those commenting on other blogs were having more and more success.

  3. I have 80,000 hits per month and few comments. More comments would be positive feed back but the volume of activity does speak for itself and does also in your case as well.

  4. Brother, things are just getting started. Now that IE7 is out blogs and RSS are about to go mainstream. We’re still early into the media shift, but blogs are so far from dead. Keep writing, linking, and commenting… and you’ll see.

    I’m glad I found your weblog today (via Dennis M. Kennedy w/ Between Lawyers) Your 100k page views is evidence that people are consuming your efforts, they are just trying to understand how to respond. I noticed that I very rarely left comments on other’s blogs until I myself started a blog.

    Once blogs replace CV’s/resumes and newspapers, we’ll see the “people-powered conversation machine” that you refer to begin truly illuminating communities and cities.

    Make no mistake we’re alive and we’re not turning back. If you haven’t already – google “MyBlogLog” – there’s more evidence over there.


  5. It’s hard to keep up with everything. Your blog is one of an increasing number of blogs out there, and there is such a thing as information overload. I have 60 feeds that I’m watching in Bloglines. 60! And some of them update 6-15 times a day. It’s just too much. It’s probably blogging fatigue. I know it is on my part. I may read in Bloglines and won’t comment unless I’m really motivated because there’s just too much to get through. You really have to stand out.

  6. Ben-

    Thanks for the comments. I doubt it’s Google AdWords. Google crawlers (and other search engine spiders) maybe. At 10 cents/click, it would cost $10,000/month to generate that much traffic from Google AdWords. If someone is spending that much to promote my site (sure ain’t me), God bless ’em.


  7. My opinion?

    No, Eric, they’re not dead. Most are flapping on the ground, however, due to the lack of persistence of most people. Mine flapped for a very long time until I found a theme.

    Many blogs are updated very often and have a whole lot to say. Those are the ones the news tracks to find trends about the “blogosphere.”

    You’re probably getting 100,000 page views per month because someone’s promoting the site with Google AdWords. Just a guess.

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