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The White Whale Is Dead, Long Live The Whale

Moby Dick... an important book in American literature, but one I have to admit I've never totally enjoyed. My problem was never with the story, rather the long sections in the book on dissecting whales and the intricacies of the whaling industry, by the gods, boring beyond belief; who cares about the machinery of whaling I wanted to the story to flow, and I thought the interludes stopped that flow.

While I remember the story fondly, I shuddered at the thought of those long sections on whaling, until that is I attended a musical called, "The Whale," based on Herman Melville’s famous book. To my surprise I enjoyed the musical; the reason why, was because what got me excited was that the author of the musical managed to make the parts I found most boring the best part of the musical, he turned the content on the implements of death into something more digestible.

Jeremiah Owyang recently wrote a blog post that's caused must discussion amongst bloggers, people on Google+ and in social media land. He suggested the golden age of tech blogging was over and gave four reasons as to why he believes this is the case.

  •     Trend 1: Corporate acquisitions stymie innovation:
  •     Trend 2: Tech blogs are experiencing major talent turnover:
  •     Trend 3: The audience needs have changed, they want: faster, smaller, and social
  •     Trend 4: As space matures, business models solidify –giving room for new disruptors

 I agree with Jeremiah..

 I disagree with Jeremiah...

Agreement: The Era is Over…

 If a Golden Age can be defined as that period when a new technology or social media first appears upon the stage before being eclipsed by new technologies and social movements, then the golden age of tech blogging is over. The golden age of blogging is over because conversation no longer resides just on blogs in the dominate why discourse did when blogging first blossomed ten years ago. Now conversation never completely resided on just blogs, but for social media, blogs dominated early on because they quickly outpaced traditional forums. Blogs are a collection of different websites, and as such if you talk about the same topic and theme on several or 20 blogs you can easily dominate the public discourse. That's why around 2002-2005 we saw an explosion of blogging, and its impact on society and the election of 2004.

Part of the reason for the impact of blogging was because blogging fits well into how the eco-system of the web works. Most people use search to find things, so it is important to get a ranking on a topic if you want to be heard. To get that ranking, you need keywords, and links from other websites that include those keywords. That describes a blog discussion amongst a blogging community.

The same factors still come into play today, but now we've seen the rise of other social media technologies, that can get found in social. Or because of the size of their own eco-system give people additional opportunities to share and be found.

Because of these new social networks, I agree with Jeremiah, the Golden Age of Tech blogging is over, the strength of blogging is still important, but there are other sources and networks where you can find conversation.

Disagreement: The Era Continues…

Yet, I disagree with Jeremiah, blogs are still important, precisely because they are not involved with a social network, and also give people the chance to write content in a way they want it written, not necessarily confirmed by the dictates of a social network run by a 3rd party, though Jeremiah is not saying that tech blogs are not important, but that the Golden Age is over.

The Golden Age of Social Media

Just as The whale, the musical, made a book more palatable for this reader, social networks have made content and conversation more engaging than existing networks of Tech Blogs. I argued as such on Neville Hobson's post about this discussion. That doesn't mean the old medium is going away, it just means that people prefer to receive their content in different packages. Rather than the end of a Golden Age of Blogging, we have entered a new age if social media.